Sami Valimaki is forever tied to the Gecko Tour.
The young 18-year-old Finnish golfer won on the New Course at the Atalaya Golf Club in the fourteenth tournament of the season.
He’s still an amateur and he was playing in his first international tournament among professionals. First, the first time around. An incredible feat made by a golfer who dreams of playing and winning the Masters at Augusta, who assures he has no idols. “My idol? Myself…”, he affirms with strong conviction.
It’s not easy to pull something off like that. Valimaki needed an entire five playoff holes to beat British golfer James Maw. Another prestigious win for the Nordic golfer, Maw is a veteran player in the Gecko who already knows what it means to win a tournament in the EuroPro Tour.
The chain of five tiebreak holes in a row, as you can imagine, was agonizing, with nightfall coming over Atalya. Finally, he won on the fifth hole with a birdie.
Valimaki is a golfer with a great future ahead. Last year he won three tournaments as an amateur, two in Finland and one in Belgium, and he decided to play this week in the Gecko to prepare for the Portugal International, one of the most important dates on the amateur calendar. “I’m really happy with the win. It’s the first time I’ve won in a professional international tournament, so I won’t forget it”, he affirms.
Maw and Valimaki finished in a tie at -12, with a total of 128 shots in two rounds. They ended up with a two-shot advantage over Swedish golfer Christopher Sahlstrom, who came close to the win once again, and three over Austrian golfer Hanspeter Bacher and Spanish golfer Leo Lilja. Fifth place went to another Spanish golfer Carlos del Moral, four shots away from the playoff.
The climax of Valimaki’s round came, without a doubt, between the 5th and the 7th holes. He made an eagle on the 5th hole, having made 2 on a par 4, and two more consecutive birdies. A good part of the victory was fabricated on this extraordinary stretch.
Nice comeback in the second round as well for Andreas Andersson, second in the order of merit in the Gecko. The Swedish golfer shot a 66 and finished in thirteenth place. The distance from the leader, English golfer Sam Connor, was significantly reduced with this score.