Muscat: National Bank of Oman (NBO) has celebrated the spectacular victory of Joel Sjoholm at the Italian Challenge Open by Lyoness. Sjoholm now holds the first position in the 'Road to Oman' Tour rankings, followed by a second-place tie between Bradley Neil and Chase Koepka.
The 2017 'Road to Oman' comprises of 27 tournaments across 21 countries, closing the tour in November for the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final.
Joel Sjoholm won his maiden European Challenge Tour title in style by carding a final round of 65 to triumph by four shots. The Swede started the final day two strokes behind overnight leader Bradley Neil, but following four birdies over the front nine he took the lead at Is Molas Resort.
After Neil double-bogeyed the tenth, Sjoholm saw his lead rise to three shots, and after further gains at 12, 13 and 16, the 32-year-old had the luxury of walking down the last with a four-shot cushion.
Nine years since he joined the paid ranks, a jubilant Sjoholm was overjoyed to have claimed his first professional victory.
“It feels amazing,” he said. “I never thought when I was ten years old that I would have to wait until I was 32 before I earned my first victory as a professional.”
With victory in Sardinia Sjoholm moves 93 places up to fifth in the 'Road to Oman' Rankings.
Neil and Koepka, who both finished tied second, also moved into the top 15 – rising up to seventh and eighth place in the Rankings respectively. Joel Sjoholm now moves to 5th position in the 'Road to Oman' rankings with American Julian Suri still holding onto pole position over Britain’s Aaron Rai.
NBO has played a key role in the development of golf across Oman supporting initiatives like the NBO Golf Oman School Road Show that exposed students across the Sultanate to the sport of golf.
The NBO Golf Classic Grand Final is the culmination of the European Challenge Tour’s 'Road to Oman', which includes 27 tournaments across 22 different countries. Golfers are competing for a share of a €400,000 prize fund, with the top 15 players in the final 'Road to Oman' rankings earning playing cards for next season’s European Tour International Schedule. First held in 1987, the European Challenge Tour has become an established stepping-stone for future champions.