Valimaki lifts first Euro Tour title after playoff

Valimaki lifts first Euro Tour title after playoff

Sami Valimaki overcame Brandon Stone in a play-off to win his first European Tour title at the Oman Open.

The Finn claimed four wins on the satellite Pro Golf Tour after turning professional in January last year but was playing just his sixth European Tour event following his step up at the Qualifying School.

He was outside the top 100 after day one in Muscat but climbed the leaderboard over the weekend and was alongside Stone in a six-strong tie for the lead after round three.

The South African holed a gutsy 20-foot putt on the 18th to set the target at 13 under after a 70 and pile the pressure on Valimaki, who was playing in the group behind and needed a birdie of his own to take the contest to extra holes.

The 21-year-old left himself around 20 feet for his closing gain that set up the play-off, and the duo could not be separated as they both made par on the first two trips back up the last.

They both hit perfect drives at the third time of asking but Stone sent his second shot clattering into the stands and could not get up and down, leaving Valimaki to take the trophy with a par.

“It’s awesome,” said Valimaki. There are not many words to say, it’s unbelievable.

“After the ninth hole when I made a double I knew that the 10th hole is good and I had to make a birdie on that.

“I didn’t make a really good par on 11 and after that bogey I felt like, ‘okay this is gone’. But then I just grinded, made three birdies and on the last, an awesome birdie.”

Frenchman Adrien Saddier bogeyed the 17th to finish a shot out of the play-off after a closing 69, with Finn Mikko Korhonen and Italian Guido Migliozzi at 11 under.

England’s Jordan Smith finished in the group at nine under, a shot clear of countryman Robert Rock and Scottish pair Grant Forrest and Connor Syme.

Englishman Callum Shinkwin had led by one shot with nine holes to play but made a quadruple-bogey on the 17th as he eventually finished at six under.

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