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Samooja claims maiden win with course-record 64

Samooja claims maiden win with course-record 64

Kalle Samooja secured his maiden DP World Tour title in style, producing a course-record 64 at Green Eagle Golf Courses on Sunday to win the 2022 Porsche European Open by two shots.


Starting the day seven shots off the lead, Samooja fired eight birdies in a spotless final round, saving the best until last as he made back-to-back gains at the 17th and 18th.

Things could have been even better for the Finn, whose eagle chip from over by the hospitality area around the 18th green hit the flag and landed just in front of the hole.

But he was able to tap in for a closing birdie to set the clubhouse target on six under par, with his nearest challengers only just starting their back nines.

Overnight leader Victor Perez quickly made consecutive birdies at the tenth and 11th to join Samooja at the summit but bogeys at his next two holes stalled his progress.

And with the chasing pack continuing to struggle, Samooja was finally able to celebrate his first DP World Tour win after a two-hour wait.

Wil Besseling finished alone in second on four under after mixing four birdies with a double bogey and a bogey in his closing 71.

Last week's winner Perez was another shot back alongside Richard Mansell in a tie for third.

Samooja went into his final round having not broken par all week but he turned in 31 thanks to birdies at the sixth, seventh and ninth.

The 34-year-old began his back nine with further birdies at the tenth and 11th to make it three in a row before his next birdie - from five feet at the 15th - handed him a share of the lead on four under.

A missed birdie chance from no more than six feet at the 16th looked as though it may prove costly, with Samooja looking to post the lowest score possible, knowing the likes of Perez still had so many holes still to complete.

But he recovered brilliantly at the short 17th, sending his tee-shot to 15 feet before rolling in the birdie putt to take the outright lead on five under.

And although it was not all plain sailing at the 18th, he finished his round with a close-range birdie, having clattered the flag with his third shot to narrowly miss out on an eagle.

A long wait followed, but with no-one able to match his six-under-par total, Samooja got his name on the trophy and claimed a spot at the U.S. Open Championship at Brookline later this month along with nine others who secured their places through the 2022 European Qualifying Series.

An emotional Samooja said: "It is truly special. It's been a long journey. I've been close a few times.

"We had a number in mind today and we reached that. We thought it might be enough and it was a long two-hour wait at the clubhouse, seeing the guys battle it out.

"In the end, fortunately it was enough.

"We were pretty sure that it was going to be a play-off or we might even miss the play-off.

"I don't know what happened in the end. I was just hoping to get a solo second place and get a ticket to the U.S. Open but this is a little better.

"I’m really looking forward to the U.S. Open. One of my goals this year was to play more Majors.

"This qualifier gave me a chance to get in. When I knew we would get a spot I asked my physio ‘where are we going?’. Because I didn’t know where it was being played, but I wanted to play there. I’m really looking forward to that week."

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