Tuesday, 08 August 2017
Sami Valimaki (credit Kai Kilappa) ()
Sami Valimaki (credit Kai Kilappa) ()

Amateurs Sami Välimäki and Robert MacIntyre both put in career-best best performances on a rain-affected second day at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge.

Scotland’s MacIntyre took the early clubhouse lead with a five under par round of 67, before Välimäki stole the show on his European Challenge Tour debut.

The 19 year old Finn, carded an eagle and seven birdies on route to a seven under par 65 in only his second round on Europe’s top developmental tour.

With heavy rain causing a four-hour delay, many players were left unable to complete their second rounds, but both Välimäki and MacIntyre go into the weekend full of confidence after excellent 36-hole displays.

“My round was really good,” said Välimäki. “I got off to a perfect start with three birdies and I just built on that from there.

“I didn’t know how well I was doing until we came off for the delay when I just had three holes to play. I got a bit excited when I saw my score, and I came out and made a really bad decision on the eighth – my second last hole.

“I bounced back to make a 12-foot eagle at the last though, which was really good, and it was a great start for my first time on the Challenge Tour.

“I am going to just go and enjoy the rest of the week. This is a special competition for me, and I hope one day this will be my full-time job and I will play on the European Tour.”

MacIntyre, who failed to make the cut in his other two appearances on the Road to Oman this season, was also delighted with how he played – and credited competing on Scottish links courses for helping him tackle the damp conditions.

“Being an amateur you have to play in difficult conditions on links courses – that definitely helped me today,” said the 21 year old, whose appearance this week is just his fifth on the Challenge Tour.

“I had nothing to lose and everything to gain so I made sure that I didn’t get too down on myself about the weather – it was a good day.

“I putted really well. I hit it good as well – you can’t score like that without striking the ball well. Overall my game is in good shape and I’m hoping I can carry it on over the weekend.

“There was a different wind today compared to the last two days. I had to focus more on the wind. Despite the rain I’d say that it was actually a little bit easier out there today.

“Playing at this level is obviously a step up for me, and I’m starting to build up a little bit of experience. The two other events I’ve played in, especially the match play event in Spain, have really helped me.

“Having missed out in both of those tournaments I am now more hungry to go out and try and prove myself."

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