March 1, 2020 / 3:12 PM / 5 months ago

Golf: Finnish rookie Valimaki clinches Oman Open in playoff

(Reuters) - Finland’s claimed his maiden European Tour title on Sunday, beating Brandon Stone in a playoff to win the Oman Open in Muscat.

Valimaki and Stone finished level on 13 under par at Al Mouj Golf after both shot two-under-par 70s in the final round in difficult, breezy conditions by the coast.

The duo halved the first two playoff holes on the par-four 18th but when South African Stone faltered with a bogey on their third time around, par was enough for Valimaki to seal victory.

The 21-year-old, who secured his European Tour card at the Qualifying School, recorded his first top 10 finish at the Vic Open last month and is now a winner in only his sixth Tour appearance.

Valimaki took the lead in the final round with back-to-back birdies from the seventh hole but then found a bunker on the ninth on his way to a double bogey.

He roared back with four birdies on the back nine, including a clutch putt from 20 feet to force the extra holes with Stone.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “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 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.”

France’s Adrien Saddier took third after carding a 69 to finish on 12-under while Italian Guido Migliozzi and Finn Mikko Korhonen were a shot back to share fourth place.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman

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