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OMEGA DUBAI DESERT CLASSIC


January 26, 2019


Kalle Samooja


Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Q. 68 today, how do you assess your play?
KALLE SAMOOJA: I think it was a solid round. A little slip on 8, missed a short putt, but other than that I think I played pretty solid the whole day.

Q. How different does this back nine play to the front nine? We've seen a big change in scoring from front to back. Why is it a lot easier?
KALLE SAMOOJA: Of course there's one more par 5, 17 which plays downwind. But I think when we started the back nine, for example, 12 was a tough hole today, crosswind into. There's holes you have to cut corners and the wind was tricky. I think it's hard to hit the fairways and if you don't hit the fairways. Greens have firmed up a lot, so it's hard.

Q. Playing The Challenge Tour and now playing with Sergio GarcĂ­a, beating him today, as well, a great rise for you. Explain to us what the difference is from playing on The Challenge Tour, what you've noticed on the change of level moving up to the main tour?
KALLE SAMOOJA: Of course the courses are tighter, and longer rough this week and last week. I haven't seen this rough in three years basically playing The Challenge Tour.

It is still the same game. You have to hit fairways and greens and hole the putts. I think that's what I was doing, especially last year. I was quite solid with my ball-striking and just tried to move it here and play the same game.

Q. You won in China on The Challenge Tour last year, and now in with a chance tomorrow, but what's the strategy going out on a course where there's been some good scoring?
KALLE SAMOOJA: I feel comfortable with my game. I think I just need to follow my game plan and hopefully I get a good chance on the back nine tomorrow.

It is ten times bigger tournament than the 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.

Q. Third round 68, how do you feel about today's performance?
KALLE SAMOOJA: Of course I'm pretty happy with the score, and how I finished yesterday in my round, I was up there, and then 3-over the last two holes wasn't where I wanted to be.

But today, started well. Then the little short putt I missed on 8 was kind of slowing me down, maybe more than scoring-wise. But then I got a couple good birdies on the back nine, so still a good round.

Q. You had a fantastic year last year on The Challenge Tour, very consistent year. You must have always been looking to The European Tour and here you are today playing with Sergio outscoring him. How did that feel?
KALLE SAMOOJA: It feels great. I'm really enjoying myself, especially last week, Rolex Series Event and this week, the courses are amazing courses.

I played here three years ago in a practise 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.

Q. You've played in a handful of European Tour events coming here. What's the difference been like for you?
KALLE SAMOOJA: You just have it feel comfortable here. We have a good group of Finns playing here, as well, so I think it helps me to settle in here.

I know the courses are tougher than on The Challenge Tour, of course. Just have to sharpen up your game when you come here. You can't hit any loose shots.

Q. What's going on with Finnish golf at the moment, we see more and more of you guys coming through every year and talent just keeps coming to us?
KALLE SAMOOJA: I think the five guys that are here at the moment, except Mikko who has been here a long time, and the other Mikko is pretty long. But a little younger guys, just been doing such a good job the past few years and it's paying off. Hopefully there's a few others following us.

Q. Belated happy birthday. Guessing you had a sensible night last night by today's performance?
KALLE SAMOOJA: Yeah, we had a nice dinner. We have good friends here, so been spending evenings with them and similar to the evenings before. Nothing special. Maybe after this tournament.

Q. Tomorrow, how will you approach with more people and more cameras on you?
KALLE SAMOOJA: 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.

So I'm really hoping that they will keep the Finnish flag high and I can make some birdies that they can cheer for. So we'll see.

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