The European Challenge Tour crowned only the second Amateur winner in its 15 year history as 22 year old Roope Kakko took the Volvo Finnish Open after a dramatic three way play-off.
Kakko, who lives just three miles from the Espoon Golfseura, defeated Englishman Phillip Archer and Sweden’s Johan Axgren at the first extra hole – his 150 yard approach shot hitting the cup and spinning back to just three feet, leaving Kakko a tap in birdie to crown and unbelievable week for the amateur player.
The Volvo Finnish Open was reduced to 54 holes after torrential rains had flooded the course on Saturday, but nothing was going to put a dampener on Kakko’s day as he shot a final round 67 to join Archer and Axgren on 11 under par 202 and take the tournament into extra time.
Kakko’s brilliant play-off birdie made him only the second amateur in history to take a Challenge Tour title – following in the footsteps of Sweden's Eric Carlberg, who took the Ramlosa Open in 1994.
“I am so happy to have won an event of this stature,” said Kakko after lifting the Volvo Finnish Open trophy. “I am still finding it hard to believe, because this victory will have a big impact on my career.”
Last week, Kakko was in a play-off in a Finnish Tour event in which he scored victory and he admitted that helped him to relax as he went to extra holes with Archer and Axgren.
“For some reason I did not get very nervous going into the play-off,” he said. “I think after winning the play-off last week I knew exactly what I had to do in order to win and I was lucky enough that today was my day.
“It is a fantastic achievement to have won a Challenge Tour event while I am still an Amateur player, and I just hope that I can now turn professional and be able to play on the Challenge Tour full time.”
Italy’s Alessandro Tadini took fourth place with a nine under par total of 204 for his three rounds, and with it stretched his lead at the top of the Challenge Tour Rankings.
Tadini has accumulated €77,784 in what has been an outstanding season for the 30 year old who won the Costa Rica Open at the beginning of the year and also finished second at the Aa St Omer Open.