European Tour: NBO Oman Open Preview

Golfer admires his shot

We preview the NBO Oman Open which forms part of the European Tour. The event is set to take place at the Al Mouj Golf Course between 15 February and 18 February. 

The European Tour returns to the Persian Gulf following the idiosyncratic pleasures in Perth, with the first ever fully sanctioned top flight European Tour event to be held in Oman. This will clearly make the job of punting this week ever more speculative, as players attempt to come to grips with this links style course in a short space of time.

The course won’t be a mystery for all, having hosted five Challenge Tour Events in its short existence: the course was opened in 2013. The event hasn’t exactly attracted the most illustrious lineup either, which should further open up possibilities this week.

NBO Oman Open | 15 February - 18 February | Al Mouj Golf Course, Oman

The Al Mouj Golf Course was designed by Greg Norman and is a stunning links style course with fairways that are peppered with bunkers. It runs along a two kilometer stretch of shoreline in the Gulf of Oman. Having said that, the fairways are fairly generous, though exposed. The course is really at the mercy of the wind that gusts from the Indian Ocean. At the time of writing nothing more than a steady breeze has been forecast, so one should expect something of a birdie-fest at a course this exposed.

Alex Levy deservedly leads the markets this week while Shubhankar Sharma tees up this week having won two of his last five events. Andy Sullivan’s quest to make yet another Ryder Cup side will mean that he is unlikely to pass up opportunities like this to compete against a somewhat depleted field. Elsewhere names such as Luiten and Detry pop out, while cult figure Andrew Johnston is likely to pull considerable galleries in his quest to escape purely folk-hero status on tour.


Past Winners

To Win Outright:
Alex Levy 11/1 | Shubhankar Sharma 18/1 | Andy Sullivan 18/1 | Joost Luiten 22/1 | Thomas Detry 22/1

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Value Bets

Soren Kjeldsen- To Win 60/1, To Place 13/1
The veteran Dane reemerged from apparent hibernation a few years back when victorious at the exposed test that was the Irish Open at Royal County Down. He then managed to follow that up with a Masters top 10, although quite that level of form has dissipated somewhat. Although, dating back to a top 20 PGA Tour finish in August, he has had 35 rounds of 72 or better out of 36. He has a fine record in the Middle East, with his first two top 10 finishes coming in Qatar. He was ninth in the Scottish Open last year, showing his appreciation of exposed links style courses.

Romain Wattel- To Win 60/1, To Place 13/1
This is a call based on ability to adapt to the links style course this week- which with little course form is perhaps the best harbinger for success this week. The 27 year-old Frenchman won the KLM Open last season, which is a very windy event. He also arrives here off the back of some solid form: he finished 37th in Dubai before a particularly 11th placed finish two weeks ago at the Maybank Championship. He certainly represents decent value in a weak field this week.

Jens Dantorp- To Win 90/1, To Place 19/1
This is completely based, and I mean completely, on course form. He played fairly poorly in Perth, but that was preceded by three top 50 finishes- at the SA Open, Joburg Open and Mauritius Open. Dantorp is perhaps the closet thing in the field to a course specialist, having finished inside the top 10 on his last three visits. This included a runner-up finish in 2016. The two-time Challenge Tour winners clearly has the capacity to win and could be a threat this week- especially at that price.

The Man to Beat- Haydn Porteous- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
South African golfers tend to play well in the desert links-inspired courses. The young, big-hitting South African has won on tour in 2016 and 2017 and just hasn’t quite found that perfect set of circumstances this season. A winner of the Joburg Open and Czech Masters in the past, he recently had a top 20 finish in the highly competitive Dubai Desert Classic. More importantly, he has course experience here, having played this course when on the Challenge Tour in 2015.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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