Finland’s Sami Välimäki earned his first European Tour title in just his sixth start at the 2020 Oman Open
Sami Välimäki needed just six starts to claim his first victory at Al Mouj Golf, but how did he make it on to the European Tour?
Here’s what you need to know about the 21-year-old from Finland…
Välimäki had an impressive amateur career. He won four notable individual events, and in 2018 played for Europe in the Bonallack Trophy, was part of the winning Continental Europe side in the St Andrews Trophy, and represented Finland in the Eisenhower Trophy.
While still an amateur, Välimäki also played in several Nordic Golf League events, won the 2018 Qualifying School for the Pro Golf Tour, and reached the top ten of the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
He turned professional in January 2019 following the completion of his compulsory military service in Finland at the end of 2018.
Success on the Pro Golf Tour
As a professional, Välimäki experienced immediate success. Playing in his first event, the young Finn secured a two stroke victory at the Open Casa Green Golf in Casablanca, Morocco.
He secured back-to-back titles later that year at the Starnberg Open and EXTEC CzechOne Open by Atomic Drinks, which saw Välimäki become the third player in the history of the Pro Golf Tour to succeed in gaining instant promotion to the Challenge Tour.
A third consecutive title followed at the Castanea Resort Championship for his fourth victory of the season.
Sami Välimäki from Finland is the winner of the Castanea Resort Championship 2019. With a total -19 he secures himself his 4th victory of the 2019 Pro Golf Tour season. Finally he is four shots ahead of runner-up Ondrej Lieser (Czech Republic / -15). https://t.co/3TzyXMo5Qx pic.twitter.com/qWIkaFNSKP— Pro Golf Tour (@ProGolfTour) October 2, 2019
Earning a European Tour card
Although Välimäki’s victories on the Pro Golf Tour had already secured his Challenge Tour card, he made the decision to go to European Tour Qualifying School.
He went on to earn the 12th card at Final Qualifying Stage with rounds of 67-68-73-65-68-72, finishing at 15 under par.
The fourth golfer from Finland to win on Tour
Välimäki became the fourth golfer from Finland to win on the European Tour on Sunday with his play-off victory against Brandon Stone at the 2020 Oman Open.
It’s the third victory from a Finnish player in as many seasons, and the recent success of golfers to hail from their country has not gone unnoticed by Finland’s most recent champion.
“There are not many words to say, it’s unbelievable.” Said Välimäki. “It is great that more Finnish golfers are doing well in the sport and golf is getting more popular there in Finland.”
Välimäki now joins Mikko Ilonen, Roope Kakko and Korhonen on the list of European Tour winners to hail from Finland.
In the latest Race to Dubai podcast, Valimaki talked about Ilonen’s inspiration on his game (below).