A course record out of nowhere, an equally unlikely maiden DP World Tour title, a start in the 122nd U.S. Open and a giant leap towards the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai made Sunday one of the red-letter variety for Kalle Samooja.
The 34-year-old Finn roared from seven strokes back to Porsche European Open victory courtesy of a stunning closing 64 in Hamburg, Germany which sees him climb 61 spots in the DP World Tour Rankings to 25th.
“It is truly special,” said Samooja who finished six under par to edge Dutchman Wil Besseling by two strokes at the €1.75 million event to add a DP World Tour Tour title to his 2018 Hainan Open win on the Challenge Tour.
Samooja wasn’t kidding. His eight under par circuit of the North course at Green Eagle Golf Courses was remarkable on two counts; at 7,475 yards it is the longest layout on this season’s DP World Tour schedule which perhaps accounted for the other victory surprise, the fact Finn had not broken par in the previous three rounds.
The title earned Samooja €297,500 and 460 precious DP World Tour Ranking points to see him comfortably inside the top 50 players who earn spots in the season ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 17-20.
Long before the season ending grand finale in Dubai rolls around, Samooja will be out to better his missed cut at the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in what will be just a second Major Championship start at the U.S. Open Championship from June 16-19.
Samooja was one of ten players to confirm starts at the penultimate Major of the year via the 2022 European Qualifying Series, a mini-series of the Betfred British Masters, Soudal Open, Dutch Open and the Porsche European Open.
He joined fellow tournament winners Thorbjørn Olesen, Sam Horsfield and Victor Perez in a line-up completed by Ryan Fox, Sebastian Soderberg, Besseling, Yannik Paul, Richard Mansell and Marcel Schneider.
“I’m really looking forward to the U.S. Open. One of my goals this year was to play more Majors,” said Samooja.
“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.”
‘That’ week will be at The Country Club at Brookline, Massachusetts and will represent Besseling’s maiden 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 spots to 38th courtesy of his best DP World Tour finish, solo second on four under par.
Perez, who started Sunday with a one stroke lead and within sight of back-to-back titles after clinching the Dutch Open, was tied for the lead after back-to-back birdies on the tenth and 11th. But back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th stalled the Frenchman’s charge and he had to settle for a closing 74 and a share of third place alongside Englishman Richard Mansell on three under par. Perez is up six spots to 18th in the DP World Tour Rankings while Mansell climbed 37 places to 54th and on the cusp of the cut-off for a spot at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Edoardo Molinari, meanwhile, capped a memorable week by finishing in a five-way share of fifth at two under par. The Italian, named earlier in the week as Henrik Stenson’s second vice-captain for the 44th Ryder Cup matches on the outskirts of Rome next year, snuck inside the DP World Tour Championship bubble, up seven spots to 49th.
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 event starts at Halmstad Golf Club in Tylösand on Thursday.