Victory scoops valuable Ryder Cup points for Paris
Joost Luiten is back in business. The 32-year old Dutchman pulled-off a superb victory in the inaugural NBO Oman Open (15-18 February) to win his sixth title on the European Tour beating his buddy, Englishman Chris Wood by two strokes on the final day at Al Mouj Golf.
After opening with a level par round of 72 in Muscat, Luiten fired two blistering rounds of 66, 6-under par, on Friday and Saturday to get himself into a share of the lead teeing-off with France’s Julien Guerrier and England’s Matthew Southgate in the final round. He then closed with a rock-solid 68 for a winning tally of 16-under par.
Dressed in his traditional ‘Sunday Orange’, Luiten got off to a glorious start with a run of birdies at the 2nd, 3rd and 4th holes. Then came his first mistake of the day: a three-putt from just off the green at the 7th. Another bogey followed after another three-putt at the 8th. But Luiten was not about to let two bogeys devastate the chance of clinching his first victory since September 2016 when he won the KLM Open. That had happened far too often in the past 18 months. Instead he managed to keep his focus and step-up his game.
Holland’s golf hero from Rotterdam fought back bravely with three birdies on the back nine which included a brace of birdies at 12 and 13, followed by another at the par-5, 16th to shoot a 68 and so snatch the Oman Open title in style. Whilst clutching the new trophy, Joost talked with the press about his victory: “I was more nervous yesterday. To battle it out today with one of my best friends on Tour, Woody, is just great!”
As well as celebrating his sixth European Tour victory in Oman, Joost can enjoy being back in the top-10 of the Race to Dubai. His win exalts him to ninth place in the rankings which means that he’ll be getting a few very nice invitations to play in some of the even more lucrative tournaments coming up such as the WGC – Mexico Championship.
Congratulations on a great tournament – you’re the man! Proost Joost!
MORE DUTCH IMPRESSIONS …
Joost Luiten wasn’t the only Dutchman to make an impression in Oman. READ MORE HERE.
PLUS … Federer versus Luiten. Who’ll be stealing the headlines in Holland? READ MORE
Nice to know …
Birdies galore: Joost’s victory included 24 birdies, 6 bogeys and one double-bogey.
Winning score: 72-66-66-68 = 272 (16-under par)
Lucky score of 33: In total, he played nine holes in just 33 strokes five times over the four days. Indeed, during his second and third rounds of 66, he shot 33 on both the front and back nines.
World Ranking: This victory gets him back to 68th on the Official World Golf Ranking.
Back in the top-10: Joost now lies 9th in the Race to Dubai.
Ryder Cup: Victory in Oman has earned Joost a whole bunch of valuable Ryder Cup points. He now lies 12th in the ranking for automatic qualification in this year’s European Ryder Cup team.
Pipped at the post: Englishman Chris Wood was second in Oman on 274 with Frenchman Julien Guerrier one shot further adrift.
French enjoy Oman: Three French players enjoyed a top-10 finish in Oman: 3rd Julien Guerrier (-13), T4th Alexander Levy (-11) and T9th Benjamin Hebert (-9).
PICTURED: Joost Luiten in action with caddie Michael “Sponge” Waite on his way to victory in the 2016 KLM Open during their first season together. © Photography by Golfing Inspirations