The European Tour is in the Middle East again this week where a good field, including defending champion Joost Luiten, will tee it up for the Oman Open.
Oman Open Leaderboard Preview, TV Times
The European Tour returns to the Middle East this week for the Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat. Joost Luiten is the defending champion and a strong field of European Tour stars has assembled.
Defending champion Joost Luiten will be among the favourites at Al Mouj this week but a number of star names will be there to challenge him.
2018 Rookie of the Year Shubhankar Sharma is on the start list together with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and French duo Alex Levy and Roman Wattell. Englishmen Tom Lewis and Jordan Smith and South African Brandon Stone are others who will be looking to prevent Luiten defending his title.
The Scot is making a return to European Tour action after recovering from surgery to his foot.
“I really liked the Greg Norman-designed course and how well the holes played. My foot was causing me some problems at the tournament last year, so I hope I can make amends and really enjoy myself this time around,” said the 1999 Open champion.
The course at Al Mouj was opened in 2012 and was designed by two-time Open winner Greg Norman. Measuring 7,342 yards, it’s been designed with the links in mind as it is set on the stunning Indian Ocean coastline.
The course is characterised by generous fairways lined by rolling dunes, large greens and clever bunkering. Although the venue welcomed the European Tour for the first time last year, it’s been host to the Challenge Tour’s NBO Grand Final from 2015-2017 and, before that, the National Bank of Oman Classic in 2013 and 2014.
In last year’s event, Joost Luiten came out on top after a final round duel against Chris Wood of England. The Dutchman is pleased to return to the scene of his victory.
“It was my first time playing in Oman and I didn’t know what to expect but I just fell in love with the course. It’s a tough track and there is a stiff wind to contest with so you have to bring your ‘A’ game to be in contention come Sunday. It suits my game and I can’t wait to go back as champion and look forward to defending my title,” he said.
The weather forecast is as expected – Warm and dry and with the possibility of a moderate to firm breeze.
Venue: Al Mouj Golf, Muscat, Oman
Date: Feb 28 – Mar 3
Course stats: par 72, 7,365 yards
Defending champion: Joost Luiten (-16)
How to watch the Oman Open
Thursday 28 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.30am
Friday 1 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 6.30am
Saturday 2 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 8am
Sunday 3 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 8am
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Oman Open?
Players to watch:
Jorge Campillo – The Spaniard finished in the top-10 in this event last year. He’s a talented player and has shown consistent form of late.
David Lipsky – He comes into this event on the back of a fine tie for 10th in the WGC-Mexico Championship. He’s currently sixth on the Race to Dubai standings.
Alex Levy – Fifth in the Saudi International and tied fourth in this event last year, this could be the week for Levy to secure a sixth European Tour title.
Key hole: 18th. A spectacular closing par-4 of 465 yards, the waters of the Indian Ocean lie all down its left side. Danger lurks on both drive and approach and any player requiring par to win down this one will have to hold his nerve.
Don’t forget to follow Golf Monthly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram