When you open a Challenge Tour season without recording an over par round until the fourth tournament — a streak of 11 consecutive competition days shooting par or better — chances are your bid to earn a European Tour card is going to go well.
Kalle Samooja, who accomplished the feat, began his year with a tied third place finish at the lucrative Barclays Kenya Open, which immediately put him into the top 15 on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah, a distinction he would never relinquish.
In the 31 weeks he spent holding a projected graduation spot, the Finn made 20 starts and assembled an impressive record on his way to becoming Road to Ras Al Khaimah Number Four.
The 30 year old steadily notched top 20 finishes in exactly half of his appearances, but also had six top tens, five top fives, including on home soil at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge, a tied third, a runner-up finish, and in the third to last tournament of the season a win.
The maiden triumph, at the Hainan Open in southern China, came in Samooja’s 68th career Challenge Tour start, and he impressed throughout, opening the tournament with rounds of 65-66 and cruising to a two-shot victory over the weekend.
The win eliminated any doubt that he might fall out of the Road to Ras Al Khaimah top 15, and meant that the terrific Turku native, who first played a Challenge Tour event in 2009, would finally be fulfilling his dream and heading to the European Tour.