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International Series Oman poised to tee off golfing spectacle

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MUSCAT: The $2-million prize money International Series Oman is all set to turn the Sultanate of Oman into a golfing spectacle when Major winners and elite players from the six continents tee off at the picturesque Al Mouj Golf course on Thursday.

The February 9-12 tournament, making its Middle East debut in Muscat, is headlined by Major winners Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

The elevated series begins at the Greg Norman designed Championship golf course, Al Mouj Golf, before heading to a further nine venues as part of the Asian Tour’s season.

The 132-player field in Muscat includes golfers from 23 countries across 6 continents.

The 32-year-old Koepka is a former world number one and four-time Major winner.

The all-time Ryder Cup points earner, Garcia, is joined in the field by fellow Spaniards Eugenio Chacarra and David Puig.

The Asian Tour’s enhanced tournament series’ strongest field to date includes Chile’s two top-ranked players Joaquin Niemann and Mito Pereira.

Dubai-based Shiv Kapur (India), Jeev Milkha Singh (India) and MG Keyser (South Africa), representing Jumeirah Golf Estates, are also in the fray.


On Tuesday, Graeme McDowell, Sadom Kaewkanjana, Chan Shih-Chang and Azzan al Rumhy attended Muscat’s Grand Mosque to showcase one of the country’s most impressive destinations during a photocall with the trophy.

The players gathered at Oman’s largest mosque previewing the week ahead and what they expect from the Series’ first visit to the Middle East.

Graeme McDowell spoke on playing in the Sultanate for the first time and commented: “I’ve played a lot of golf in the Middle East for the last 20 years and it’s always amazing to come to new places. I like what I see so far, it’s a beautiful country with great facilities and a great golf course and I’m really looking forward to competing this weekend.”

One of Oman’s brightest talents, amateur golfer Azzan al Rumhy discussed having the series in his home country for the first time adding: “I’m very excited, we’ve been waiting for this event since we heard about it last November and we are very fortunate, especially with some of the big names that are here and it’s the strongest field we’ve ever had in Oman. The likes of Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen, it makes it super exciting.”

Sadom Kaewkanjana was asked on the opportunity the International Series provides players on the Asian Tour, saying: “It’s great for me and the young players on the Asian Tour to play in the International Series, playing alongside great players in the field. The field is very strong so everyone will be looking to improve their games, get better and continue to grow the game throughout Asia.”

Talking on his development through to the Asian Tour and International Series, Chan Shih-chang said: “Looking back at my career so far, I think it hasn’t been easy getting to where I am today. I started playing on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) more than 10 years ago. Won a few times, got my status on the Asian Tour and then won on the Asian Tour. It has been a lot of hard work really, considering how late I picked up the game.”

The first round draw was held on Tuesday with Koepka set for an afternoon tee-off while Oosthuizen and Milka Singh start early.

Image Caption: (L-R) Sadom Kaewkanjana, Chan Shih-chang, Azzan al Rumhy and Graeme McDowell pose for a photograph with the International Series Oman winner’s trophy at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat.

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