Kalle Samooja - Everything You Need to Know
AT LAST, a proper test on the DP World Tour. But how disappointing that so many players chose to withdraw from the Porsche European Open at Green Eagle Golf Club in Hamburg.
Seven withdrew and four retired, with Sebastian Garcia-Rodriguez doing so after an opening round of 88. It is the same as a footballer picking up his ball and going home. Those who pulled out after poor rounds should all be fined.
We all love to see low scores but, equally, the continent’s best players need to be tested from time to time. And boy, was this course a test. The cut fell at five over par, with some big names missing the weekend.
But at the end of it all, Kalle Samooja produced a stunning final round of 64 to win and show everybody else how it should be done.
Starting the day seven shots off the lead, Samooja fired eight birdies, 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.
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.
European Open Moments
Samooja’s winning total, 282, was the highest on the DP World Tour this season. His final round of 64 was his only sub-par score of the week. Defending champion Marcus Armitage finished the week on 10 over par after final rounds of 78 and 77. The cut fell at five over par
Who Is Kalle Samooja?
Samooja is 34-year-old Fin from Turku. His only previous victory came at the 2018 Hainan Open on the Challenge Tour, although he has lost in two playoffs in the DP World Tour - at the European Masters in 2019 and the Cyprus Open last year, when he lost at the first hole to England’s Callum Shinkwin.
To say he is a late bloomer would be something of an understatement. He failed to get through the qualifying school in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014.
In 2016, Samooja made it on to the European Tour's developmental tour, the Challenge Tour, finishing 69th and 71st in the order of merit in 2016 and 2017.
But he persisted and in 2018, he won the Hainan Open and finished fourth on the Order of Merit earning a promotion to the European Tour.
And in 2019 he had three top-10 finishes and ended the year in 62nd place in the Race to Dubai. He played in the US PGA Championship in 2021, missing the cut.
He averages 312.35 yards from the tee, which is 17 yards further than he managed last season, and hits 54.31% of fairways, putting him in 67th place in the rankings. He is an outstanding bunker player, getting up and down from the sand 64.29% of the time, which puts him in seventh place in the standings.
His victory in Hamburg lifts him 61 places to 25th place in the DP World Tour standings.
What’s In The Bag - Kalle Samooja
Driver: Callaway Epic Max LS 10.5°
Fairways: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond 15°
Irons: Callaway Apex Pro ’19 4-PW
Wedges: Callaway JAWS Mack Daddy 5, 54° and 60°
Putter: Odyssey Toulon Daytona Beach
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