Muscat: Spain’s Alvaro Velasco produced a sensational final round of 62 to seal a one-stroke victory over Germany’s Alexander Knappe and Sweden’s Oliver Stark at the Cordon Golf Open and in the process moved 109 places up the European Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman Rankings into 31st place to put himself firmly in the hunt for a spot in the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final.
The season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final will take place at Almouj Golf from November 2 to 5.
“It’s hard to describe at the moment, but I’m so happy,” said Velasco. “It’s unbelievable, and today was amazing, I’m thrilled.
“Everything changes now for me. This year for me so far has been quite bad, my game hasn’t been very sharp, but this week I found something and a win here is huge for me, so I’m really excited for what comes next now.
The 35-year-old, who topped the Rankings in 2010 and has played three seasons on the European Tour (2008, 2009 and 2011), has struggled for form this year missing the cut in each of his previous seven outings before turning his fortunes around in stunning fashion at Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André in France, making up an eight-shot deficit to post a 12 under par winning total of 268.
The victory earned Velasco 32,000 points to take his season total to 36,735 as he looks to secure in a place in the season finale in Muscat, which is open only to the top 45 players on the Road to Oman.
Overnight leader Knappe, who won the Swiss Challenge presented by Association Suisse de Golf in June, has already sealed his spot in the Oman field but his closing 71 saw him claim 18,000 points to move from ninth place into the top three on the Rankings with 92,584 for the season while joint runner-up Stark moved from 62nd position to 34th with a total of 35,247.
As well as a share of a €400,000 prize fund on offer for victory in the prestigious NBO Golf Classic Grand Final, the top 15 players on the Road to Oman Rankings following the conclusion of the tournament will earn their playing cards for next season’s European Tour International Schedule. In addition, the top three players will also win a share of the lucrative €60,000 Bonus Pool.
Jordan L Smith fired a closing 65 in France to take fourth place and 12,000 points, which saw the Englishman regain top spot on the Rankings 102,046 points for the season.
Former Road to Oman front-runner Romain Langasque did not play in the Cordon Golf Open but the Frenchman will not be too disappointed at losing the top spot to Smith as he was playing on the European Tour at the Omega European Masters where he put in a wonderful performance to finish in a share of seventh place.