Muscat: On a day of jubilation at Almouj Golf, Clement Sordet held his nerve to seal the prestigious NBO Golf Classic Grand Final by two strokes over Marcus Kinhult, whilst Tapio Pulkkanen was crowned 2017 Road to Oman champion as the pair, along with 12 fellow European Challenge Tour talents, also earned promotion to the European Tour.
Although he finished in 35th place in Muscat, Pulkkanen topped the ‘Road to Oman’ Rankings with an impressive season total of 210,799,12 points.
Victory in the Kazakhstan Open and three runner-up finishes were the highlights of a remarkable season. The Finnish star, who is known for his distinctive trilby hat, was delighted to be named Challenge Tour No. 1 and is relishing a swift return to Muscat when Almouj Golf hosts a European Tour tournament for the first time next February.
“I’m so excited to play on the European Tour next season because it’s a whole new world to me,” said Pulkkanen.
“I’m looking forward to returning here in Muscat in February 2018 when it hosts a European Tour event for the first time. I’ve just got to make sure I’m a little bit more conservative with my style than I was this week!”
Sordet was thrilled to finish his season in style on this spectacular Greg Norman-designed course to earn a winner’s cheque for €71,600.
The Frenchman said: “To finish with a win in Oman is amazing. I would say this victory is the highlight of my career so far and is a fantastic way to finish the season.”
Closely behind Sordet was Kinhult who shot a four-under 68 on the final day to finish two behind the leader.
The Swedish star climbed from 10th to fifth in the Road to Oman standings and feels the added pressure of playing in a Grand Final helped him perform to his optimum level.
“I like the big events when the pressure is on like in this NBO Golf Classic Grand Final because it brings the best out in my game,” said the 21 year old.
“The beautiful Almouj Golf course was setup great for me so I thoroughly enjoyed the week and got good vibes from this place.”
Drama was inevitable in the ‘Road to Oman’ final with only 15 European Tour cards up for grabs. The two unlucky professionals that missed out were Sebastian Heisele and Robin Scot-Siegrist as they were replaced by Scott Fernandez who climbed from 22nd to 14th with a tied-third finish and Bradley Neil who took the 15th and final spot.
While heartache was inevitable for some, there was far more reason for festivity after an unforgettable week of golf in Oman. This tournament is just a sign of what’s to come for the burgeoning golf scene in Oman, which is capturing the imagination of golf fans around the world.