Little-known Finnish golfer Samooja outscores Spanish star Garcia
Samooja hit six birdies to outshine Garcia on Saturday.
Dubai - Samooja is banking on support from his countrymen as he attempts to give the big guns a run for their money
By Rituraj Borkakoty
Published: Sat 26 Jan 2019, 8:54 PM
Last updated: Sat 26 Jan 2019, 10:59 PM
Finland's Kalle Samooja will go into Sunday's final round of the Dubai Desert Classic with an outside chance to lay his hands on the coveted trophy at the iconic Majlis Course.
Having delivered a third round score of 68 to go 12 under par, Samooja trails leader Bryson DeChambeau by four shots.
But what pleased Samooja - a 31-year-old novice on the European Tour - was that he got to play alongside Sergio Garcia, one of the most gifted golfers to have the played the game in recent years, on Saturday.
Garcia, 39-year-old Spaniard who won his only Dubai title in 2017 before going on to break his Major drought few months later at the Masters, produced a third round 70 to go 10 under par.
Outscoring Garcia was an unforgettable moment for Samooja who was only good enough to play the practice round three years ago in Dubai.
And naturally, Samooja, whose six birdies helped him outshine Garcia on Saturday, couldn't hide his joy after the memorable day.
"It feels great. I'm really enjoying myself," he said on Saturday.
"I played here three years ago in a practice round. And I thought it was a pretty different setup and I was just thinking, I want to be here playing this tournament one day and three years later, here I am."
Samooja, who won a Challenger tournament last year in China, said it was a special feeling to be among the top performers after the third round in Dubai.
"It is ten times bigger tournament than the one I won in China, but a win is always a win. Doesn't matter how big the tournament is. I'll just go and enjoy myself on the course and see who I play with tomorrow," he said.
Samooja is banking on support from his countrymen as he attempts to give the big guns a run for their money on Sunday. "There's going to be quite a few Finns I guess. You guys probably don't know but there's a few Finnish rappers following. They didn't follow today, but they followed yesterday and they were pretty loud," he said.