Ilonen Wins Maiden Title at Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesia Open

Sun 18 Feb 2007

Ilonen Wins Maiden Title at Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesia Open

Jakarta, February 18: Mikko Ilonen inked his name in the record books when he emerged as the first ever Finn to win an Asian Tour and European Tour co-sanctioned event at the Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesia Open on Sunday.

Ilonen, 27, battled through the inclement weather and fended off a charging field to complete the final round with a one-under-par 70. The Finnish talent delivered a winning total of nine-under-par 275 at the Damai Indah Golf and Country Club and walked away with the top prize of US$175,000.

Filipino Frankie Minoza, who won the Philippine Open two weeks ago, was pilling on the pressure at the top midway through but he suffered a double bogey on the 14th hole and finished even-par for the day in joint second spot. After having accumulated US$78,296 for his efforts this week, Minoza is the new Asian Tour?s UBS Order of Merit leader with a total earning of US$147,156.

India?s Shiv Kapur enjoyed a solid outing as he also completed his round in tied second after a 67 alongside Australia?s Andrew Tampion who shot a 69.

?I have been thinking about it (winning) all week. I had a really good start to the week and I have been trying to keep my mind clear on the golf course, but off the course it's really tough. Obviously we have had a long week, a lot of waiting, but finally now it's over it feels really nice,? said Ilonen.

?I have been imagining how it would feel to win and right now, when I was imagining it was probably a bit better. It's a bit of a rush everywhere at the moment but in the next couple of hours I will be able to relax and enjoy it,? he added.

Ilonen had set his sights on the title right from the start when he birdied the fifth and seventh holes before dropping a shot at the eighth hole He birdied the 13th and parred the 14th hole before play was suspended due to lightning at 1:30pm for an hour and 45 minutes. Upon resumption, Ilonen kept it steady and the bogey on the final 18th hole did not matter as Ilonen clinched the title by a single stroke.

?I was swinging it better. A few minutes before the announcement was made that we were restarting, I had a pretty big lunch and I always feel like I am swinging really softly after I have just eaten. I played good after the break. I just tried to go to the middle of the greens,? said Ilonen.

Minoza had stayed on track for a title charge when he was tied at the top with Ilonen after 13 holes but a wayward drive led to a double bogey on the par four 14th as he claimed the runner-up spot.

?I hit it left and had a bad lie. I hit a flyer again and my third shot was worse than my first as it went into the rough and came out with a double bogey. But I never gave up and I kept on fighting. Anything can happen at this course. But Mikko was so good and very steady. He just played on and never looked back. I am not disappointed because I still delivered a good result,? said Minoza.

Kapur, who fired five birdies against a lone bogey, battled into contention on the back nine before catching an unlucky breakĀ at the par five 17th hole when his third shot headed straight to the pin but struck the flag and rolled into the rough. He duly drained a six footer to save his par.

?I did not hit a great shot. I fired a perfect drive and my third shot was spot on as it struck the flag, and went into the rough. It was alright. Even if I was nine under and one shot behind, I know that the 18th hole is not easy but it wasn?t the case so it?s fine,? said Kapur, who was the 2005 Asian Tour?s Rookie of the Year.

?I started off well and played a couple of decent rounds this week. Anytime you have two solid scores, you are always happy,? he added.

Lat year?s winner Simon Dyson shot a 70 and claimed joint 11th place alongside Thailand?s Thongchai Jaidee who scored a 72 for a 282 total.


Leading final round scores

275 - Mikko Ilonen (FIN) 66-68-71-70

276 - Andrew Tampion (AUS) 68-66-73-69, Shiv Kapur (IND) 67-73-69-67, Frankie Minoza (PHI) 71-68-66-71

279 - Thammanoon Srirot (THA) 72-67-71-69, Suk Jong-yul (KOR) 69-68-69-73

280 - Alexandre Rocha (BRA) 72-68-73-67

281 - Chapchai Nirat (THA) 68-69-72-72, James Heath (ENG) 70-70-70-71, Tony Carolan (AUS) 71-71-67-72

282 - Rick Gibson (CAN) 72-70-72-68, Simon Dyson (ENG) 70-71-71-70, Thaworn Wiratchant (THA) 75-69-72-66, Christian Cevaer (FRA) 68-72-71-71, Henrik Nystrom (SWE) 70-69-72-71, Scott Strange (AUS) 69-69-72-72, Gareth Davies (ENG) 71-67-72-72, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 72-67-71-72, Chawalit Plaphol (THA) 65-74-70-73