H.E. Sheikh Saad bin Mohammed Al Mardouf Alsaadi, Minister of Sports Affairs, performed a ceremonial tee-off at Almouj Golf The Wave, Muscat, hitting a ball to mark the beginning of the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic yesterday.
The Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Oman, Mohammed Mahfoudh Al Ardhi, welcomed His Excellency, attending dignitaries from the Government Ministries and Organisations, plus the players and officials to the tournament at the prizegiving for the morning Pro-Am competition, where one of the competing European Challenge Tour players combined with three local amateurs in a friendly but competitive tournament.
Winning a tightly fought and highly enjoyable contest with a wonderful score of 23-under par was the team headed by Portuguese professional José-Filipe Lima who was joined by amateurs David Townsend, Sekahar Pandit and Robert Daniel. In second place on 21-under was Welshman Stuart Manley’s team containing amateurs Bikram Singh Rishi, Sanjeed Nagpal, Nikhil Sampat while in third on 20-under was the team of Italian professional Andrea Pavan and amateurs Mohammed Al Mawly, Humayun Kabir and Barney Coleman.
Mohammed Mahfoudh Al Ardhi also thanked the professionals and the local amateurs for getting the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic off to a resounding start when the first round of the European Challenge Tour event begins today (Thursday).
“When the professionals tee off in the first round I’m sure the Challenge Tour players, who represent 25 different countries, will be pleased to have familiarised themselves with this stunning Omani golf course, designed by Greg Norman.
“I would also like to say how gratified we are at the amount of support we have received from the public and private sectors for our initiative in sponsoring the $300,000 National Bank of Oman Golf Classic. The input of the various Ministries, of Sports, Information, Tourism, Health, ROP and the MuscatMunicipality is very much appreciated. Our thanks go to our Premium Sponsors, Oman Air, the Oman Oil Company, the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort, ICON PROLAB and Wicked Tents, along with our many local supporters.
“A measure of the commitment to the tournament is the enthusiasm we have had from the legion of volunteers who have given up their valuable time to guarantee the smooth-running of the event. We have 50 employees from the National Bank of Oman who have kindly volunteered to fill the role of Ambassadors during the week to make the experience of the players and spectators even more enjoyable. We also have volunteers from the Oman Army and Air Force and more than 100 volunteers from the Oman Golf Committee and students from the Muscat schools.
“I welcome you all to a wonderful week of world-class golf and I look forward to seeing you all again at the prizegiving for the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic on Sunday afternoon.”
Entrance to the event is totally free of charge and there are many activities to be enjoyed in the public village in addition to the first professional golf tournament to be held in Oman and the first European Challenge Tour event to be staged in the GCC. The event marks the penultimate stop on the 2013 European Challenge Tour after which the top 45 players on the Challenge Tour Rankings will go through to the Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club taking place October 31-November 3.