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European Challenge Hainan, Samoa leads by 2 strokes to win the championship, Luo Xuewen, China's Best T26
Release time:2024-03-14

Finnish 30-year-old athlete Kelly Samoa wins the championship

On October 14th, Beijing time, 30-year-old Finnish player Kalle Samooja saved 8 pars in 8 consecutive holes after the Sanya Luhuitou Golf Club, hitting 71 strokes, one below par, leading 2 strokes to win the Hainan Open and European Tour Challenge. This is his first time winning a championship on the European Challenge Tour.
Keller Samoa has been competing with Scottish young player Grant Forrest for the championship in the back nine holes. Despite the opponent swallowing a bogey in the back hole, they secured a Par and won the championship with a four round record of 273 strokes (65-66-71-71), 15 strokes below par, securing a $56000 championship check and securing a spot in next year's European tour.
"It was a magical week when I first came to Hainan and achieved my first personal victory," Keller Samoa's eyes turned red as he delivered his championship speech. "I was quite excited. The past year has been long and difficult, and I have approached the championship several times until this stop. This championship was really hard won."
"Our purpose in playing the European Championship is not for money. We are all aiming for the top 15 points and getting a full card in next year's European Tour. Finland doesn't have many players competing in the European Tour, but now I can also play, which is very impressive. It must be a great event for Finland."
Grant Forrest caught four birds in the middle of the game, but unfortunately there was also one bogey and one double bogey. He also hit 71 strokes, hitting 275 strokes (62-72-70-71) below par, 13 strokes below par, and won second place alone.
American player Sean Crocker hit 69 strokes, 277 strokes (68-68-72-69) in four rounds, 11 strokes below par, and placed in third place alone.
The leader of the Chinese team is still Luo Xuewen, a member of the Hainan team. He had three birdies and two bogeys, hitting 71 strokes and four rounds of 285 strokes (67-73-74-71), three strokes below the standard, tied for 26th place.
Keller Samoa started today's game with a two shot lead, catching a birdie on the second and fifth holes. Although the ninth hole swallowed a bogey, the tenth hole pushed a 12 foot birdie and bounced back.
However, at this moment, Grant Forrest began to exert his strength. The Scottish young man set a new record of 62 strokes in the first round of the game. After winning a 4-foot birdie on hole 10, he beautifully delivered the ball to 3 feet on the lane on hole 11, once again catching the birdie, narrowing the gap between the two players to 1 stroke.
The competitive landscape suddenly became tense, especially when Grant Forrest created a bird catching opportunity for himself on the 12th hole, a 361 yard par four hole. Unfortunately, he didn't seize it and only pushed the bowler three times.
"At that time, I definitely felt the pressure, but he pushed three times on hole 12, and I felt the power coming to my side. This was a great opportunity for me to win the championship," Keller Samoa said as he looked back on that tense moment.
Afterwards, the two players maintained a one shot gap until the last hole, Par 5. Grant Forester hit two shots near the green, giving him a chance to catch birds, but Keller Samoa hit three shots, leaving behind a 40 foot birdie push.
Grant Forrest's chance to add a hole was lost due to the ball rolling out of the green, making a second cut 4 feet past the hole, and ultimately swallowing the bogey with two pushes in that hole. And Keller Samoa was the first to push towards the entrance of the cave, ending the suspense of the championship race.
At the award ceremony, Alain De Soultrait, Executive Director of the European Challenge Tour, Gao Yuanyi, Deputy Director of the Hainan Provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Radio, Television and Sports, and Pang Zheng, Secretary General of the China Golf Association, respectively presented wreaths, checks, and trophies to champion Keller Samoa.
Four Chinese players made it to the finals in this competition. Luo Xuewen is the only Chinese player to enter the top 30 and has been awarded the "Best Chinese Player" award. Dai Yuming, Vice Mayor of Sanya Municipal People's Government, and Wang Yangjun, Executive Vice Chairman of Hainan Golf Association, presented awards to him.
"Today is the day after, so I wanted to make a run and created many opportunities for myself. Unfortunately, I missed 5 OK putts and a three push at a distance of 21 feet," Luo Xuewen said. "However, throughout the week, my pitching and putting were still good, with putts ranging from 24-26-27-28, and I will give my performance an 80 point rating."
Luo Xuewen also gave high praise to the Hainan Open and European Tour Challenge: "The lineup of this competition is very strong, and the experts in the European competition have come. The fact has proven that their strength is indeed stronger than ours. This competition is definitely a good learning experience for us Chinese players, and it also motivates us Chinese players to work harder.". I have won the Coconut Cup in my spare time, and I sincerely hope that one day I can also win this competition. I hope it is the year after tomorrow. I am not very satisfied with my performance this year, and my goal next year is to take it to the next level
Su Dong's two little birds and two bogeys hit 72 strokes, with 287 strokes (71-67-77-72) in four rounds, one stroke below the standard, tied for 37th place. After Ye Jianfeng made a transition, he caught four birds, but unfortunately, he swallowed Baiji in the last hole (9th hole) and hit 71 strokes, which was 290 strokes (73-69-77-71) higher than the standard, tied for 50th place. The owner's score is 292 strokes (72-72-73-75), which is 4 strokes above the standard and tied for 57th place.
Gao Wuzhong, Executive Deputy Secretary General of Hainan Golf Association, Mai Youwang, Head of Mass Sports Department of Hainan Tourism, Culture, Radio, Television and Sports Department, Zhang Hua, Director of Hainan Provincial Event Center, Mats, Director of European Challenge Tour, Zhang Zukun, Vice President of Alibaba Sports and General Manager of Hainan Sports Events Co., Ltd., Deputy Secretary General of Hainan Golf Association Dai Yuying, the General Manager of Sanya Luhuitou Golf Club, and other leaders and guests attended the award ceremony.
The Hainan Golf Open has already renewed its contract with the European Tour Challenge for three years at the beginning of the year and will continue to be held until 2021. This is the tenth year of the tournament, and it has evolved from a single amateur tournament ten years ago to an international golf series that combines youth tournaments, amateur tournaments, and professional tournaments today. The tournament system is complete and the surrounding events are rich. The successful conclusion of the European Tour Challenge has pushed the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Hainan Golf Open to a climax. Coconut breeze and sea charm, blue sea and blue sky. Over the past week, the charm of Sanya, the only tropical coastal tourism and vacation city in China, has left an indelible impression on international and domestic golf fans. Let's meet again in October next year!
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