Muscat: With the dust settling on the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge, all eyes turn to Muscat as the Road to Oman enters its final stage at the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final where the stakes couldn’t be higher.
The event, hosted at the stunning Greg Norman-designed Almouj Golf, marks the end of another exciting Challenge Tour season where the top 45 players on the Road to Oman Rankings will jostle for a place in the top 15 and a golden opportunity of promotion to the European Tour.
After his dramatic victory in the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge, Denmark’s Jens Dantorp catapulted from 48th to 13th in the Road to Oman Rankings and in with a very realistic chance of a spot on European golf’s top tier next season.
“This win will surely spur me to keep going and perform well,” said Dantorp. “I love Muscat and I am aiming to enjoy myself there, and I look forward for another great week to get that elusive European Tour card.”
Runner-up Adrian Meronk of Poland may have missed out in a play-off for the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge title but he will be happy with his overall performance and also his movement in the Road to Oman Rankings as he jumped from 79th to 33th to book his place in the field at the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final.
“I’m slightly disappointed not to win the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge as I was so close, but I have to look at the positives as I have booked my place at the Grand Final,” said Meronk. “Now I still have a chance to get promoted to the European Tour and I’m more than ready for the Road to Oman climax.”
Finland’s TapioPulkkanen remains at the summit of the Road to Oman Rankings after a great season where he won the Kazakhstan Open and finished second in three events (Turkish Airlines Challenge, D+D REAL Czech Challenge and Hainan Open). He has amassed a total of 177,724 points and will be looking to finish the season in style at NBO Golf Classic Grand Final before embarking on a new adventure on next season’s European Tour.
France’s Julien Guerrier and England’s Aaron Rai are on Pulkkanen’s tail and both lie just a little over 40,000 points adrift and a decent showing would push one of them to the Road to Oman throne.
Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International Dubai Office, said: “It was wonderful to see such an exciting finish to the Ras Al Khaimah 2017 Golf Challenge where the two players involved secured their spots in the season-ending grand finale in Oman. They now have the chance to follow in the footsteps of the likes of WGC-HSBC Champions winner Justin Rose, 2016 Race to Dubai champion Henrik Stenson and 2016 Ras Al Khaimah Golf Challenge and Road to Oman champion Jordan Smith who all started their careers on the Challenge Tour before going on to achieve great things on the European Tour.”
Muscat will be the ultimate destination and the final event of the 2017 Road Oman which has taken in 26 tournaments in 20 countries and come Saturday, 15 players will be rejoicing after grasping European Tour cards.
The 2017 NBO Golf Classic Grand Final gets underway at Almouj Golf on Wednesday with the curtain-raising Pro-Am taking place on Tuesday. The final round of the 420,000 euro event will take place on Saturday.
(Position, name, country and points)
1. Tapio PULKKANEN (FIN) 177724.12
2. Julien GUERRIER (FRA) 133233.60
3. Aaron RAI (ENG) 131485.00
4. Oliver FARR (WAL) 129476.69
5. Erik VAN ROOYEN (RSA) 125976.24
6. Ryan EVANS (ENG) 120563.04
7. Chase KOEPKA (USA) 120300.00
8. Steven BROWN (ENG) 101239.85
9. Adrien SADDIER (FRA) 96551.71
10. Marcus KINHULT (SWE) 92419.19
11. Pedro ORIOL (ESP) 90208.21
12. Clement SORDET (FRA) 89712.37
13. Jens DANTORP (SWE) 87086.85
14. Robin SCIOT-SIEGRIST (FRA) 83064.80
15. Sebastian HEISELE (GER) 82618.76