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Korhonen Grabs title As Shot Clock Masters Hailed A Success

Mikko Korhonen captured the inaugural Shot Clock Masters (Photo: Getty Images)
Finland’s Mikko Korhonen will forever be the answer to a trivia question after capturing his first European Tour title at one of the most talked about tournaments in recent memory.

Korhonen registered an impressive 16-under-par total and a six-shot victory at what used to be the Austrian Open, a tournament that has now become the poster child for curing one of the game’s greatest ills.

The aptly renamed Shot Clock Masters is European Tour chief Keith Pelley’s answer to the widespread problem of slow play in professional golf.

Every player in every group at Diamond Country Club was timed on every shot over the 72 holes and the results were interesting to say the least.

The first player to hit in each group was allotted 50 seconds to play with those who followed afforded 40 seconds, standard rules on most Professional Tours for decades.

However, unlike most weeks each group was followed by a golf buggy carrying a large digital clock which began counting down once an official determined a player’s time to hit had begun.

The added scrutiny undoubtedly had the desired effect with round times cut, drastically in some cases, across the board over the course of the week.

And the experiment was hailed an almost universal success with players, fans and commentators alike taking to social media to express their approval.

Just four players falling foul of the rules over the course of the week, all four incidents coming at the weekend when the pressure on the players is increased.

Two of the penalties were assessed on the putting green and the other two on approach shots.

"We've seen this week that this (Shot Clock) can definitely improve the game," a clearly pleased Keith Pelley told Sky Sports after the tournament.

"It also shows that if the players get into the right mindset, then they can play quicker.

"I think it makes it better viewer experience for those watching on television, a better customer experience at the tournaments and the golfers love it as well."

Lost in the global focus on the pace of play was a stunning performance by Korhonen, a name unfamiliar to the casual fan but a veteran of 146 previous starts.

Rounds of 68-67-68-69 saw him to 16-under for the week, six ahead of 2016 Australian Amateur champion Connor Syme of Scotland.

Four players shared third at 9-under while the trio of Dimi Papadatos, Adam Bland and Nick Cullen were the best of the Australians in a share of 12that 7-under.

Marcus Fraser leapfrogged 29 other players with a final round 66 to be T19 while Wade Ormsby (T30) and Jack Munro (58th) were the only others to play all four days.

Matt Millar and Jason Norris missed the 54-hole cut, when the field was trimmed to top 60 and ties, while Richard Green and New Zealand’s Josh Geary missed the traditional 36 hole cut.

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