McBride, Purcell and Yates finish strong as Ruuska records maiden win on the Challenge Tour

Conor Cantwell

Lauri Ruuska of Finland (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

A strong final round by Paul McBride gave the Irishman a share for 12th at the Finnish Challenge Tour event in Vierumäki, with Finland native Lauri Ruuska securing his first Challenge tour win.

A consistent four days of golf by McBride left him on a score of 13-under par for the tournament, with fellow countrymen Conor Purcell (-11) and Jonathan Yates (-11) also finishing strongly to give the Emerald Isle three top-23 finishers.

McBride was the pick of the Irish bunch as the tournament concluded and completed 72 holes with a score of -13, with the Irishman one of five players tied for 12th.


McBride’s final round of 66 began with three birdies on the opening five holes, with a bogey on the fourth counteracting his positive start to the final round.

A birdie on the ninth sent McBride into the back nine three under par for the day, and he continued to play solid golf by playing the remaining holes to at least par.

On the 15th, McBride would notch his fifth birdie of the day, bringing him to 12-under-par for the tournament – with the final birdie of the round coming on the 18th, elevating McBride to tied for 12th rather than have a share for 17th.

Conor Purcell had an erratic final round of golf today and ended with a score of three-under-par after seven birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey in an eventful Round 4.

Purcell picked up two birdies on his front nine but undid his good work with a double bogey on the sixth and a bogey on the ninth, which meant the Irishman would begin his back nine one-over for the round.

A glut of birdies between the 12th and 16th was split down the middle by a bogey on the 14th, but just like McBride, four strokes on the par-five 18th would help Purcell jump a place with his final shot of the day.

Jonathan Yates shot the best final round of any of the Irish players with a closing round of 64, returning a spotless scorecard.

Yates replicated Purcell’s seven birdies throughout the final 18 holes, scoring three-under par after his first nine holes. Consecutive red scores on the 11th and 12th were followed up later by birdies on the 17th and what seems to be the customary Irish birdie on the 18th – leaving Yates tied with Purcell for 23rd overall.

Conor O’Rourke was the lowest finisher of the Irish that made the cut with a score of -3 on the four days, tied for 50th.

The final day would belong to the man who started the tournament in such stunning fashion as Lauri Ruuska capped off his four days with a final score of -27 which included back-to-back eagles on the 12th and 13th.

After a momentous week for the Ruuska, he reflected on what it meant to get his first tour win on home soil.

“There’s no better week than this,” he said, “Whatever the future brings we’ll wait and see but this is the best week I’ve ever had.

“Over the last three years I’ve been struggling to get into the tournaments, and I’ve been spending so much time on the reserve lists, but this win makes my life so much easier. It’s going to be a life-changing win that’s for sure.”


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