Finland’s Mikko Korhonen finally found a pace of play to his liking

ATZENBRUGG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 10: Mikko Korhonen of Finland pose for a photo with his trophy after winning The 2018 Shot Clock Masters during day four of The 2018 Shot Clock Masters at Diamond Country Club on June 10, 2018 in Atzenbrugg, Austria. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images) Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Finland’s Mikko Korhonen finally found a pace of play to his liking

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Finland’s Mikko Korhonen finally found a pace of play to his liking

The 37-year-old veteran earned his first European Tour win Sunday in the inaugural Shot Clock Masters, which put players on a time limit for each shot and penalized those who didn’t swing in time.

“It’s not easy to win, especially not the first win, so I’m really happy to have done it,” Korhonen said. “I have no words. It’s so good.”

Korhonen shot 16-under 272 for the week at Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, Austria, earning a six-shot win over Scotland’s Connor Syme.

Nicolas Colsaerts, Raphael Jacquelin, Justin Walters and Steve Webster finished T-3 at 9 under.

Hailed as an innovative event, the Shot Clock Masters simply took the existing European Tour pace of play guidelines and actually enforced them. Players had 40 seconds to hit, with an additional 10 seconds for the first player in the group to hit. Players were given two timeouts per round and received a one-stroke penalty if they went over the time limit.

Slow play is a significant issue on both the PGA and European tours these days, and the latter embraced this week’s initiative with unparalleled enthusiasm.

The European Tour posted the names of all four players who received penalties atop its online leaderboard, including the specific shot and amount of time used for each infraction. The official Twitter account posted “TIME VIOLATION,” complete with siren emojis and details, when Clemens Prader took 54 seconds on Saturday and received the first penalty of the tournament.

The clock didn’t seem to have a big effect on scores, with 43 players finishing under par. And plenty of PGA Tour players are willing to speak up on the problem as well, with too many rounds stretching into the five-hour range.

“I think it would be very interesting,” Dustin Johnson said about the idea of a shot clock. “You’d see a lot of guys getting penalties on our Tour. Yeah, that would be quite fun, actually. I’d have plenty of time but there’s a lot of guys that wouldn’t. They would be getting a penalty on every hole.”

It would have been interesting to see such terms applied under pressure, but Korhonen was in command throughout the final round. He shot 3-under 69 and parred his final five holes to win for the first time in 146 starts.

“It feels great, beautiful,” Korhonen said. “It’s been a long wait, so it feels good. I have thought I might not be in this position. I’ve been up there a couple times and couldn’t do it at those times, but now I’m so happy and relieved that I have done it.” Gwk

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