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High Hopes for Paju
With a solid Worlds finish under his belt, Finn Seppo Paju hopes to claim the best finish by a European at this year’s USDGC.
In August, Paju, 17, proved he can hang with the best after he earned a 6th place World Championship finish in Charlotte, his best from two open appearances at Worlds.
“I’m happy I was able to keep my focus through all 7 rounds we played,” said Paju in a summer email.
With a few months to prepare for the United States Championship, Paju likes his chances. “My game feels good right now and I have seen that I can play in top 10 of the world, and I believe I can do even better in USDGC,” said Paju, who is a business student with one year remaining.
To become the top European finisher, 1020-rated Paju, of Lieto, Finland, will have to beat fellow countryman Jussi Meresmaa’s 4th place finish in 2010.
Prior to his first Championship in 2010 when he took 79th place, Paju’s only experience with the USDGC and the Winthrop Gold Course was through YouTube clips.
So it was a big thrill for him to step onto the course for the first time. Last year he returned to Rock Hill, S.C., and finished 46th at the Performance Edition.
As Paju’s success has increased (including 4 PDGA tourney wins in 2011), he’s now being featured on YouTube through tournament play and especially from his exhibition ace during the 2011 World Championships in Santa Cruz.
Living in Finland, Seppo said he’s able to play a few big tourneys a year, but hopes to play more and possibly tour in the U.S. at some point.