Finland’s Kalle Samooja, Zimbabwe’s Kieran Vincent and Japan’s Jinichiro Kozuma survived a pressure-packed 36 holes Sunday at LIV Golf Promotions to earn entry into the 2024 LIV Golf League.
Samooja produced the lowest score of the marathon final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club at 8 under, fueled by a morning round of 7-under 65. Vincent and Kozuma each shot 7 under on the day to make a three-man playoff for the final two spots that also included Laurie Canter. Vincent birdied the second playoff hole and Kozuma parred it to join Samooja as LIV Golf’s newest members.
“Once I came here, I knew this was the only thing I wanted to achieve,” said Samooja. “… It’s a big step forward in my career.”
“I don’t think the tears are doing it justice,” said an emotional Vincent, who joins older brother Scott as a LIV Golf member. “Obviously watching my brother the whole year, seeing how life-changing it can be, I just hope that this propels my career to a whole new level.”
Vincent was one of LIV Golf’s reserves in 2023, while Kozuma made three starts during the beta-test 2022 LIV Golf Invitational Series.
“I wanted to come back again for sure,” Kozuma said, “and to be real now, it’s like a dream.”
The three players emerged from the pack of 73 entrants in LIV Golf’s inaugural Promotions tournament that offers a pathway into the league. Kozuma played all four rounds – with scores reset after each of the first two rounds – while Samooja and Vincent played three rounds after meeting the eligibility criteria for the first-round bye.
Twenty players competed in Sunday’s marathon finale.
“I think we had the best three guys from the field to get their cards,” Samooja said.
Samooja, Vincent and Kozuma will be in action for LIV Golf’s season opener at Mayakoba on Feb. 2-4.