Mikko Ilonen wins Volvo World Match Play

Finn defeats Sweden's Henrik Stenson in the final at The London Club in Kent

Mikko Ilonen wins Volvo World Match Play
Mikko Ilonen wins Volvo World Match Play
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mikko Ilonen of Finland defeated Sweden’s Henrik Stenson by 3&1 to win the final of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at the London Golf Club in Kent.

Mikko Ilonen of Finland defeated Sweden’s Henrik Stenson by 3&1 to win the final of the Volvo World Match Play Championship at the London Golf Club in Kent.

Ilonen produced an error-free performance in the final. In blustery conditions, the Finn posted four birdies and suffered no bogeys en-route to collecting the winner’s cheque for €650,000, his fifth victory on the European Tour and his second this season, following the Irish Open.

Stenson struck the first blow in the final with a birdie at the fourth hole. But he gave his advantage up immediately with a bogey at the fifth, and then went behind after finding the water from the tee on the par-3 eighth.

Ilonen pushed on with birdies at the 10th and 12th holes to go three-up on the Swede. Stenson wasn’t going to give up easily however. The World Number five struck back with a birdie at the 13th to reduce the deficit to two.

Ilonen held firm and retaliated with a birdie of his own at the 14th, restoring his three-hole advantage. Stenson countered with a birdie at the 15th, but it was too little too late. The 16th was halved and Ilonen secured the win on the 17th when his approach spun back off the bank behind the green to within feet of the cup. When Stenson was unable to make his birdie putt, Ilonen had the victory.

“I felt comfortable. You would have thought I’d be nervous against the World Number five, but I’ve played so much golf with Henrik over the years I felt like it was a friendly game,” he said. “To see my name on this trophy amongst all the great players is a big thing.”

With the win, Ilonen has moved into the top-10 on the 2014 Race to Dubai and climbed into the top 40 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Stenson was philosophical in defeat and admitted he was outplayed by Ilonen.

“I ran out of energy if I’m honest and I battled my swing in the afternoon,” he said. “Mikko played nicely and he didn’t make any mistakes. The best player won on the day.”

In the playoff for third and fourth spots, Holland’s Joost Luiten beat George Coetzee of South Africa at the first extra hole. Coetzee was never ahead in the match and Luiten held steady to take the match on the 19th.

Volvo World Match Play Championship The London Golf Club, Ash, Kent Oct 15-19, purse €2,250,000, par 72

1    Mikko Ilonen (Fin)        €650,000 2    Henrik Stenson (Swe)        €330,000 3    Joost Luiten (Ned)        €210,000 4    George Coetzee (RSA)        €160,000 T5    Jonas Blixt (Swe)            €100,000 T5    Victor Dubuisson (Fra)        €100,000 T5    Pablo Larrazabal (Esp)        €100,000 T5    Patrick Reed (USA)        €100,000 T9    Paul Casey (Eng)            €75,000 T9    Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)        €75,000 T9    Shane Lowry (Ire)        €75,000 T9    Graeme McDowell (NIR)    €75,000

Note: Player result in bold signifies Titleist ball usage

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?