With just over two weeks to go until the curtain rises on the opening International Series event of the 2024 season a handful of deserving golfers have received their invitation to compete against the best of the Asian Tour, and a good few LIV players too, at Al Mouj Golf, Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman.
Regional representation has become a cornerstone of the International Series events and one that the Oman Golf Association are greatly appreciative of. Mundhir Al Barwani, Chairman of the Oman Golf Association is quoted as saying “We are very grateful for the support that the Asian Tour have extended us to allow greater development of golf within the region. The opportunity for our elite amateurs to compete against the world’s best has great value for the players themselves as well as inspiring those youngsters who have just begun the game. These invitations allow us to strengthen bonds to grow the game and also to promote Oman as a fantastic destination for golf, tourism, and investment.”
The first player to receive an invitation to compete in the tournament was Austrian Challenge Tour Professional Niklas Regner. Niklas is one of five professionals supported by the Murhof Group who own and manage over 20 golf courses in Austria and have been bringing groups of members to Oman since 2022. Mundhir Al Barwani added “Extending an invitation to Niklas was an easy decision, the Oman Golf Association have built a great relationship with Gary Stangl and the Murhof Group which has seen many groups of their members travelling into Oman from Austria during the winter season to stay at the Kempinski Muscat and play all of the golf courses here, this shows the great potential of Oman as a golfing destination.” Niklas was recently at a training camp with the Austrian Elite Squad in Ras Al Khaimah and took the opportunity to visit Oman and preview Al Mouj Golf. While he was in the Sultanate he also kindly gave some of his time to conduct a short game clinic for several of the Oman National Team players and pass on some valuable tips.
The second invitation was extended to leading Omani amateur Azaan Al Rumhy, a National Team stalwart for many years Azaan has represented the Sultanate in many high-profile amateur events, most recently the Asia Pacific Amateur Championships in Australia and has played in Challenge Tour, European Tour, and in 2023 Asian Tour events at Al Mouj Golf. Azaan’s invite comes by virtue of him being the leading Omani golfer in the official World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR).
Using the golden opportunity of an invite to an Asian Tour event to reward regional elite performance, as well as developing Omani talent, the Oman Golf Association allocated two invitations to the recently played OHI Oman Amateur Open. Taking the top spot over three days at Ghala Golf Club was Jay Mullane who, along with his brother Sam, made the short trip from Dubai to play. Jay’s rounds of 70, 70, 72 for a four under par total saw him claim top spot and an invitation to play in the International Series Oman event. In the same event 18 year old Ahmed Al Wahaibi produced rounds of 77, 67, 77 to finish as the leading Omani player and receive an invitation to join Jay at Al Mouj Golf. Despite potentially being the youngest player in the field Ahmed is fully aware of what lies ahead for him as he also played the event in 2023.
Supporting wider regional development two invitations were also allocated to the Arab Golf Federation (AGF) who passed them to Moroccan professionals Ayoub Lguirati and Ayoub Id Omar. Al Barwani added “We are delighted that the AGF have decided to award the invitations to the two leading Moroccan professionals, having their involvement in the tournament shows our young Omani amateur players that there is a pathway to make golf a career if they continue to work hard.”
One further invitation has been allocated to the leading amateur at the inaugural Ominvest Masters which will be played at La Vie Club in Muscat the week prior to the Asian Tour event.