Muscat: Tyler Hogarty held his nerve when it mattered most to win the season-ending Tour Championship as England’s Craig Hinton walked away with the coveted MENA Golf Tour Order of Merit title on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old South African closed with a five-under 67 to reach 12-under for the tournament, sealing his maiden win on the tour a good two shots over England’s Luke Joy, who staged a compelling fight-back with a blistering back nine 30 en route to a course-record equaling 66.
Sweden’s Per Barth occupied solo third on nine-under after carding final round 67, one clear of England’s Jordan Garnish and two off Stuart Archibald who matched Joy’s low score of 66.
“Obviously, I feel delighted to get over the line this time around after coming close to winning on so many occasions,” said Hogarty after receiving the winner’s trophy from His Highness Al Rawy Kais Al Said, CEO and Chairman of Muscat Hills.
“I played quite consistently during the week and stuck to my game plan which was to take advantage of the par-5s and not to get frustrated,” said the South African, who joined the MENA Golf Tour as an amateur in 2012 before turning professional a year later.
“I pitched in for from about 25 yards from an eagle on the second and then holed a 25-footer from the fringe for a birdie on the 15th and that proved crucial to winning the championship,” said Hogarty, who also received a cheque for $18,000, making it the biggest payday of his professional career.
England’s Joy, who made the turn at level par, reeled off six birdies, including four in a row from the 13th, to post a creditable second that earned him $12,000, taking his overall earnings during the season to $ 38,355.
England’s Hinton finished in a tie for 25th on two under after a final round 69, but it was enough to land him the Order of Merit title with a total earnings of $39,338 as his fellow countryman Zane Scotland ($34,195) finished third.
England’s Todd Clements returned a 68 to win the amateur division at seven-under, but it was India’s Rayhan Thomas who comfortably topped the order of merit standings with 329 points, well ahead of England’s Benjamin David (231 points).
Morocco's Ahmed Marjan won the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award for being the best professional in the MENA region while Saudi Arabia's Othman Almulla took the honours in the region's amateur division.
The top three professionals on the Order of Merit and the leading amateur will be invited to compete in the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic in addition to earning full playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour and exemptions into the Final Stage of the Asian Tour Q-School.
Players, ranked between six and 15, will be also be exempt into the final stage of the Sunshine Tour’s Qualifying School in a move aimed at creating meaningful playing opportunities for players knocking on the doors of stardom.
MENA Tour Championship results: 1.Tyler Hogarty (South Africa) 12-under; 2.Luke Joy (England) 10-under; 3.Per Barth (Sweden) 9-under
Leading amateur: Todd Clements (England) 7-under
Order of Merit standings: Professionals: 1. Craig Hinton (England) $39,338 (Dh145,000); 2. Luke Joy (England) $38,355; 3. Zane Scotland (England) $34,195
Leading Amateur: Rayhan Thomas (India) 329 points
Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation Award (MENA Division): Leading professional: Ahmed Marjan (Morocco); Leading amateur: Othman Almulla (Saudi Arabia)