A course record out of nowhere, an equally unlikely first DP World Tour title, a start at the 122nd US Open and a giant leap towards the DP World Tour Championship at the end of the season in Dubai made Sunday one for Kalle Samooja of the red letters .
The 34-year-old Finn roared back from seven shots to victory at the Porsche European Open, thanks to a stunning 64 in Hamburg, Germany that sees him climb 61 spots in the DP World Tour rankings to 25thth.
“It’s really special,” said Samooja, who six-under par and beat Dutchman Wil Besseling by two shots in the €1.75 million event and added a DP World to his win at the 2018 Hainan Open on the Challenge Tour Tour Tour title added.
Samooja wasn’t kidding. His eight-under par course on the North Course at Green Eagle Golf Courses was notable in two respects; At 7,475 yards, it’s the longest layout on the DP World Tour schedule this season, which perhaps accounts for the other victory surprise, the fact that Finn hadn’t broken par in the previous three rounds.
The title netted Samooja €297,500 and 460 valuable DP World Tour Ranking points, putting him comfortably in the top 50 players set to take place at the Jumeirah Golf Estates November 17-20 in the DP World Tour Championship at the end of the season.
Well ahead of the season’s grand finale in Dubai, Samooja will look to amend his missed cut at the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in what will be just a second Major Championship start at the US Open Championship June 16-19 becomes.
Samooja was one of ten players to start at the penultimate Major of the year via the European Qualifying Series 2022, a mini-series of the Betfred British Masters, Soudal Open, Dutch Open and Porsche European Open.
He joined tournament winners Thorbjørn Olesen, Sam Horsfield and Victor Perez in a lineup completed by Ryan Fox, Sebastian Soderberg, Besseling, Yannik Paul, Richard Mansell and Marcel Schneider.
“I am really looking forward to the US Open. One of my goals this year was to play more majors,” Samooja said.
“When I knew we were going to get a spot, I asked my physical therapist, ‘Where are we going?’ Because I didn’t know where the game was played, but I wanted to play there. I am really looking forward to this week.”
Taking place at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, “This” week represents Besseling’s first Major Championship start.
The 36-year-old from Schellinkhout in the Netherlands made the most significant jump up the DP World Tour rankings in Hamburg, climbing 66 places to 38th on his best DP World Tour result, solo second at four-under par .
Perez, who started Sunday with a one-shot lead and had back-to-back titles in sight after winning the Dutch Open, was tenth and eleventh-place leader after two consecutive birdies. But back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th halted the Frenchman and he had to settle for a final 74 and a share of third place alongside England’s Richard Mansell on three-under par. Perez has moved up six spots in the DP World Tour rankings to 18th, while Mansell climbed 37 spots to 54th and is on the cusp of the cut-off for a spot at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Edoardo Molinari, meanwhile, capped a memorable week with a five-fold fifth at two-under par. The Italian, who earlier in the week was named Henrik Stenson’s second vice-captain for next year’s 44th Ryder Cup matches just outside Rome, snuck up into the DP World Tour Championship bubble and improved seven places to 49th place.
The DP World Tour rolls on to Sweden this week for the second Volvo Cars Scandinavian Mixed hosted by Henrik and Annika. The 2 million euro event starts on Thursday at Halmstad Golf Club in Tylösand.