LIV Golf welcomes three exciting new talents following historic showdown in Abu Dhabi

Kalle Samooja enters the record books as the first Finn on the LIV Golf Roster where he was joined by Japan's Jinichiro Kozuma and Zimbabwean Kieren Vincent

By KT Golf

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The qualifiers and LIV Golf CEO, Greg Norman pose for a photo (left to right), Kieran Vincent of Zimbabwe, Kalle Samooja of Finland and Jinichiro Kozuma of Japan, at the trophy ceremony after the final round of the LIV Golf Promotions at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. - sUPPLIED PHOTO
The qualifiers and LIV Golf CEO, Greg Norman pose for a photo (left to right), Kieran Vincent of Zimbabwe, Kalle Samooja of Finland and Jinichiro Kozuma of Japan, at the trophy ceremony after the final round of the LIV Golf Promotions at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. - sUPPLIED PHOTO

Published: Mon 11 Dec 2023, 4:25 PM

Last updated: Mon 11 Dec 2023, 4:37 PM

Finland’s Kalle Samooja made history when he won the LIV Golf Promotions 36-hole shoot-out at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to secure one of three coveted spots on LIV Golf’s roster for the upcoming season.

Samooja, 35, who has played all over the world in his 13 years as a pro including 27 events this year, shot impressive rounds of 65 and 71 for an eight-under par tp pick up a cheque for $200,000.

A strong field of 20 players qualified for the final day’s action with Japan’s Jinichiro Kozuma and Zimbabwean Kieren Vincent taking the other two spots on the LIV Golf League in 2024.

Samooja, who has played on the Asian Tour, the European Tour, and the PGA Tour so far, summed up his emotions on finally hitting the big time.

“It's going to be massive, I think,” he said. “Golf is booming back home in Finland. We have (many) guys, one guy on PGA Tour, DP World Tour, now LIV Golf, so it's going to be massive for Finnish golf.”

Kieran Vincent, Kalle Samooja and Jinichiro Kozuma with their trophies. - X
Kieran Vincent, Kalle Samooja and Jinichiro Kozuma with their trophies. - X

The prize purse for this event was whopping $1.5 million with the Top 20 players all receiving a share of the booty.

The pursuit of the remaining two spots on LIV Golf transformed into an intense battle as three players finished Sunday’s 36-hole contest at seven-under par.

This deadlock led to a playoff to determine the two qualifiers for the league. After two play-off holes, conducted under the lights at Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s 18th hole, Kozuma and Vincent emerged victorious.

It was heartbreak for England’s Laurie Canter, who missed out on his guaranteed place in the LIV Golf roster in 2024 after a three-putt on the first playoff hole and a double bogey on the second hole handed the remaining two spots to Kozuma and Vincent.

Reflecting on the week's events, LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman, who was in Abu Dhabi to welcome the three new LIV Golf members, summarised the intense competition and historic moments.

“What we witnessed today, and the last four days is something very unique and special to the game of golf, one that I'm extremely proud of and one my entire team on LIV Golf Worldwide is extremely proud of,” said Norman, an Australian entrepreneur who has won two Majors in the past.

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With this accomplishment the three players all qualify for the 2024 LIV Golf League that begins in Mayakoba, in Mexico on February 2 to 4, 2024


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