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Samooja joins Von Dellingshausen at Tenerife summit

Samooja joins Von Dellingshausen at Tenerife summit

Kalle Samooja carded a 66 to join Nicolai von Dellingshausen at the top of the leaderboard heading into the final day of the 2021 Tenerife Open but the duo had a large chasing pack gathered behind them at Golf Costa Adeje.

Kalle Samooja

Von Dellingshausen entered the third round with a three shot lead and carded a 70 to get to 17 under and stay at the top of the leaderboard on a day of tougher scoring on the Canary Islands.

But Finn Samooja made six birdies and a single bogey to join him at the summit, one shot clear of South African Dean Burmester and two ahead of South Korea's Yikeun Chang, local favourite Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez and Pole Adrian Meronk, with 20 players within five shots of the lead.

Both of the leaders are still looking for a maiden European Tour win, with 2018 European Challenge Tour graduate Samooja having lost out in a play-off in each of his full seasons on Tour.

Von Dellingshausen has been a consistent performer on the Challenge Tour over the last four seasons but is playing just his 16th European Tour event and does not currently have full playing privileges.

That means Sunday could be a life changing day for either of them but they will face a stiff challenge, potentially in the form of 2017 Tshwane Open champion Burmester and recent winners John Catlin and Garrick Higgo, who were three off the lead alongside Sean Crocker and Alfredo Garcia-Heredia.

"My short game was pretty spot on today," said Samooja. "Ball-striking hasn’t been that pretty, especially today, so you need to find something in your game that works.

"Play better on Saturday is the first thing I have learned. I’ve been playing pretty bad on Saturdays but it’s a learning process and it’s a long week.

"Four weeks is a lot of good golf to play. It’s pretty tightly packed and anything can happen so you need to be relaxed and make a lot of birdies."

Von Dellingshausen got off to a perfect start as he left himself five feet for birdie at the first to extend his lead to four but that was cut to two by the chasing pack as he made seven pars in a row.

A poor second and a duffed chip at the ninth then brought the 28-year-old just a second bogey of the week and he led by two at the turn from a group of four players.

One of them was Samooja, who after spinning an approach to four feet at the sixth and holing a long putt at the seventh, dropped a shot at the tenth.

He bounced back by taking advantage of the par five 11th and a wonderful approach to six feet at the next had him within one.

Von Dellingshausen gave himself some breathing space with a stunning second to three feet at the 12th before both he and Samooja made two putt birdies at the par five 13th.

The leader then missed the green off the tee at the par three 16th and the lead was trimmed to one.

Samooja made a remarkable up-and-down to birdie the par five last and make it a tie at the top, while Von Dellingshausen needed clutch putts on the 17th and 18th to stay at 17 under.

"The last two holes were actually a boost," said Von Dellingshausen. "I misread my first putt by quite a bit and then rolled in from two metres on the 17th, and then that swinger on the last. Putting was good the last few days as well, especially from those distances. It’s always good when you finish with a putt like that.

"I had to be very patient. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any nerves just going out here. It’s a situation that is not completely new to me but it’s a different set up on the European Tour. I tried to stay patient and I did.

"I stayed in the present quite well. I was just a little bit nervous out there and that’s when I sometimes drift to the future and past and start moaning about the shot that happened on the last."

Burmester had made his birdies at the par five first and third and left himself seven feet at the sixth as he turned in 32.

He bogeyed the tenth but an incredible second to three feet at the 13th set up an eagle and he was within one.

The 31-year-old dropped shots on the 14th and 16th but hit back from inside ten feet on each occasion before making a two putt birdie on the last for a 66.

Garcia Rodriguez made a single bogey in his 64, Meronk also dropped just one shot in a 65, and Chang eagled the last from eight feet to catapult up the leaderboard after a 67.

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