Muscat: The Hainan Open in China was reduced to 36 holes due to torrential rain conditions and it was Germany’s Alexander Knappe who emerged victorious to climb from ninth to third in the Road to Oman, which gives him a fantastic chance of Rankings glory with just two events remaining before the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final, set to take place at the spectacular Almouj Golf, Muscat from November 2 to 5r.
The 27-year-old’s second victory of the season was enough to guarantee his playing privileges on the European Tour next season, with his place in the all-important top 15 of the Road to Oman Rankings secured.
After earning €37,483 from this triumph in China, Knappe took his season total to 131,688 points and is now just 22,211 off Road to Oman leader Jordan L Smith and 16,223 clear of New Zealand’s Olympic athlete Ryan Fox in fourth with the big-money Foshan Open, again in China, set to take place this week followed by the hotly anticipated Ras Al Khaimah 2016 Golf Challenge in the UAE and the season-closing showdown in Muscat.
“Everybody before this tournament said ‘you already have you card’,” said a delighted Knappe who will join the European Challenge Tour’s elite in the Sultanate of Oman when the top 45 ranked players compete for a prize fund of €400,000 at the prestigious NBO Golf Classic Grand Final. The top 15 players at the conclusion of play will earn promotion to the European Tour for next season while the top three ranked players will share in a lucrative €60,000 Bonus Pool. “However I felt that I was just on the edge and I thought anything could happen with these big tournaments now. I felt as though I really needed to play well and have one more top three. To have done that here is fantastic.”
Spain’s Pep Angles turned up the heat on his season in timely fashion in China as he finished runner-up to climb from 20th to 12th in the Rankings and right into the mix for a shot at a European Tour card.
Scotland’s Scott Henry also enjoyed a stellar weekend, with his third place finish securing his spot in the Almouj Golf field as he catapulted from 45th to 28th in the Rankings.