Oman Open 2020 R4 { 680 images } Created 24 Feb 2020

Sami Valimaki won his first European Tour title as he defeated Brandon Stone in a play-off to lift the trophy at the 2020 Oman Open.

The Finn was outside the top 100 after day one at Al Mouj Golf but a stunning 64 in round three put him alongside Stone in a six way tie for the lead with 18 holes to play.

In difficult, breezy conditions by the coast, both Stone and Valimaki had held the lead on their own during the final day but it was Frenchman Adrien Saddier who set the clubhouse target at 12 under.

Stone celebrated wildly as he holed a 20 footer on the last to get to 13 under but there was more drama to come as Valimaki holed from similar range for his own closing gain and a round of 70 to take the contest to extra holes.

The duo halved the 18th in pars twice but when Stone sent his second shot crashing into the stand on the third trip and failed to get up and down, a par was enough to hand Valimaki victory.

Valimaki had a stunning 2019 on the Pro Golf Tour, winning four times including three consecutive starts at the end of the season. The 21-year-old claimed his card at the Qualifying School and after securing a first top ten at the ISPS Handa Vic Open, he is now a winner in just his sixth European Tour event.

Italian Guido Migliozzi and Finn Mikko Korhonen finished at 11 under, two shots clear of Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares, South African George Coetzee, Danish teenager Rasmus Højgaard and England's Jordan Smith.

Player quotes

Sami Valimaki: "It's awesome. There are not many words to say, it's unbelievable. After the ninth hole when I made a double I knew that the tenth 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.

“I just needed to hit the fairways and the greens, it doesn’t matter how long you leave yourself but you have to be on the green and get the chance to make the putt.

“I am feeling relaxed because I managed to get the birdies and gave myself that opportunity to win. I thought I was going to miss the putt on the last in regulation it but thank god it went to the hole and gave me the chance to win the tournament.

“It is great that more Finnish golfers are doing well in the sport and golf is getting more popular there in Finland.”

Brandon Stone: “Obviously I’m a little disappointed but I’m really proud with how I played over the last four days. It feels like I’m closer again. My confidence and swing are starting to come back. I’m feeling really comfortable and unfortunately, I came up a little shy but the best thing about our job is I get to try again on Thursday.

"We’re professional sportsmen and full of emotion which showed with my putt on the 18th in regulation. I knew I needed to hole that to give myself a sniff. I managed to get it done. We leave it all out on the line, a lot of time and effort goes into this."
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