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Flying Finns eyeing history in Cyprus

Flying Finns eyeing history in Cyprus

Kalle Samooja will be aiming for a bit of history when he goes in search of a first European Tour win on day four of the 2020 Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Open.

Kalle Samooja

Countryman Sami Välimäki became just the fourth Finnish winner on the European Tour when he won the Oman Open just before the coronavirus hiatus and should Samooja follow him into the winner's circle, it will be the first time two different Finns have won in the same European Tour season.

Välimäki will be looking for some history of his own as he could become just the second Finnish player after Mikko Ilonen to have multiple wins in the same season, and both men head into the final 18 holes at Aphrodite Hills Resort just a shot behind leader Jamie Donaldson.

Samooja carded a 64 that was the lowest effort of the third round and matched the lowest of the week, and the 22-year-old was in no doubt where the credit belonged.

"I was playing well over the first two days," he said. "In the first round I had a couple of big mistakes, that’s why I think I was so far behind. We set a goal of what we should reach over the weekend and we are heading towards that.

"There’s one club in my bag that holes the putts – the putter has been working well the whole week. That’s been the key thing. I’ve been hitting some good wedges but there are some parts that need to be improved.

"It’s quite crowded at the top of the leaderboard. I’m just hoping to stay in touch and the person who wants to win tomorrow needs to shoot really low. That’s the only mindset I have for tomorrow. If you want to shoot a low score, you better start from the first hole."

Välimäki had a rotten piece of luck on the sixth in his 68 when he saw his ball head out of bounds after hitting a tree and surrendered a bogey, but he was pleased with his recovery.

"I had a really good start, then I just made a mistake on the sixth hole, hit the ball out of bounds," he said. "On the back nine I had some bad breaks but, in the end, a good finish still.

"I think (the wind) is making the course more playable and a little bit tougher. You can still shoot low scores, but you need to be really good, and safe, if you want to even shoot under par.

"I wasn't sure how my chipping game was going to go here but it has been brilliant. 

"It's really good to be in this position. Just trying to shoot my best and I'm having fun out there."

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