Korhonen beats the clock in Austria

Scotland’s Connor Syme holes a 60-ft birdie on his final hole to grab a runner-up finish

Mikko Korhonen of Finland looks on from the eighth tee during day three of the 2018 Shot Clock Masters at Diamond Country Club on Saturday in Atzenbrugg, Austria. Photograph:  Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Mikko Korhonen of Finland looks on from the eighth tee during day three of the 2018 Shot Clock Masters at Diamond Country Club on Saturday in Atzenbrugg, Austria. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

 

Finland’s Mikko Korhonen shrugged off two weather delays to cruise to his first European Tour title at the inaugural Shot Clock Masters.

Korhonen took a five-shot lead into the final round at Diamond Country Club in Austria and carded a closing 69 to finish 16 under par, six shots ahead of Scotland’s Connor Syme.

Syme (22), who only turned professional last September and was ranked 836th in the world at the start of the week, holed from 60 feet for a birdie on the 18th to finish outright second, a shot ahead of Steve Webster, Nicolas Colsaerts, Justin Walters and Raphael Jacquelin.

Ireland’s Ruaidhrí McGee finished in a share of 35th place on three under par.

Jacquelin reduced Korhonen’s overnight advantage to three shots after four birdies in the first seven holes but the Finn birdied the third before play was suspended for 75 minutes due to the threat of lightning.

The 37-year-old, who needed eight attempts to earn his European Tour card via the qualifying school, picked up further shots on the fifth and sixth when play resumed before carding his first bogey of the week on the ninth.

A birdie on the next quickly settled any nerves and despite another bogey on the 12th following the second stoppage in play, Korhonen was never in danger of being caught.

‘A long wait’

“It feels great, beautiful,” Korhonen said. “It’s been a long wait so it feels so good. I’ve been up there a couple of times and couldn’t do it at those times, but now I’m so happy and relieved that I have done it.

“It’s not easy to win, especially not the first win, so I’m really happy to have done it. I have no words, it’s so good.”

Syme’s putt at the last was worth €51,000 as it vaulted him out of a five-way tie into solo second and a payday of €111,110.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” the former Walker Cup player said afterwards. “That was a massive bonus on the last and you could tell by my reaction how much it meant to me.

“I’ve had a couple of decent results but it’s been a pretty slow start to the European Tour since I gained my card. This will definitely turn things around no matter what.

Successfully appealed

“It always felt like a special week and I just fancied to do something really class near the end and to hole that putt was just a dream come true.”

Four players received one-shot penalties during the week for taking more than the allotted time to play their shots, while Andrea Pavan successfully appealed against his penalty in the third round.

Pelley told Sky Sports: “I think we saw this week that this can definitely improve the game. It also shows that if players get into the mindset then they can play quicker.

“I think it makes for a better viewing experience, better customer experience at the tournaments and the golfers love it.”

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.