MORE than a decade after compatriot Mikko Illonen recorded a top-ten finish in the Open Championship on the Lancashire course, Finland’s Albert Eckhardt landed the Lytham Trophy after beating Irishman Jack Hume in a play-off.
As Glenbervie’s Graeme Robertson finished as leading Scot in joint-ninth, having closed with rounds of 72 and 76 for a total of 294, Eckhardt and Hume tied on 287, their seven-over aggregates showing once again how tough the Open venue has become for this event.
In coming out on top in a traditional three-hole play-off, Eckhardt emerged as the event’s second successive winner from Continental Europe after Dutchman Dan Huizing’s runaway success 12 months ago.
Eckhardt, who made his move with a third-round 69 before closing with a 73, and Hume – the Rathsallagh man shot 68 in his last round – finished four shots ahead of Frenchman Julie Marot and Norwegian Kristian Johannessen in joint-third.
Edinburgh-born Reeve Whitson, now one of Ireland’s leading lights, was fifth on on 292, a shot ahead of English pair Paul Kinnear and Nathan Kimsey, who led at halfway but closed 77-74.