Yates ties 25th as Helligkilde goes wire-to-wire in Finland

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Yates ties 25th as Helligkilde goes wire-to-wire in Finland

Jonathan Yates (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Jonathan Yates signed for a closing three-under par round of 69 to lead home the Irish contingent as Marcus Helligkilde recorded a season-low 23-under par total as he went wire-to-wire to claim his maiden European Challenge Tour title at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge.

Naas professional Yates broke par for the second time this week, firing six birdies and three bogeys on his way to an eight-under par tally and a tie for 25th. That left him one shot clear of Kinsale’s John Murphy who put in a rock-solid account of himself once more, closing with a 70 for a share of 34th at seven-under.

Tramore’s Robin Dawson returned a one-under 71 in an encouraging four rounds in Finland that started so bright after an opening 64 before he eventually finished tied 44th at five-under. Paul McBride carded his second successive 73 to finish at minus-four, one clear of James Sugrue who shot even par on Sunday and Conor O’Rourke who bounced back from a moving day 79 with a two-under 70 to sign off at even par.

Meanwhile, there was never any doubt about the fate of the title as Helligkilde led from pillar to post. Starting the day with a five-stroke lead, the 24-year-old was in control in Finland as he picked up shots on the ninth and 12th holes.

A double-bogey on the 16th brought Sweden’s Jesper Svensson into contention, but a birdie on the last sealed a two-stroke victory as he signed for a one under par final round. Svensson settled for second place on 21 under par, his best result in four Challenge Tour appearances.

Helligkilde surpassed Craig Howie’s 22 under par 266 aggregate total from the Range Servant Challenge by Hinton Golf, where he finished runner-up to the Scotsman.

The Dane, who climbs 22 places to eighth on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, was overjoyed at securing his maiden title in such dominant fashion and believes managing his mental game played a vital role in his triumph.

“I’m lost for words,” he said “It feels so nice and I am very happy. I think my success was down to a combination of things; the biggest factor was my mental game and how I managed myself around the course.”

Helligkilde was delighted with his all-round display as he took advantage of the few penalty areas present at Vierumäki Resort, enabling him to hit 17 greens despite sometimes being out of position off the tee on day four in Vierumäki.

“I hit my driver a lot as there were not so many penalty areas out there and if it was in the trees I could still chip towards the green. Good course management and conservative approach play into the greens was key.”

“The first three rounds everything was just perfect and I was striking the ball so pure. Today was more difficult because I hit 17 greens but only managed to one-putt once and that was at the 18th. I love being here in Finland, especially Vierumäki, this is an amazing place to play golf.”

Belgium’s Christopher Mivis finished third on 17-under-par, while three-time Challenge Tour winner Espen Kofstad’s nine under par round of 63 was enough to share fourth place with Frenchman Ugo Coussaud. Englishman Joe Long, Denmark’s Niklas Nørgaard Møller and Swedish duo Pontus Nyholm and Jesper Kennegard share sixth place on 15 under par.

The Road to Mallorca now visits Helligkilde’s motherland for the Danish Swing, with the Made in Esbjerg Challenge – Presented by Freja & TotalEnergies taking place from August 11-14, followed by the Sydbank Esbjerg Challenge from August 17-20.

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