Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed to play in new European Tour event in Saudi Arabia

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Heading to Saudi: Dustin Johnson

World No.1 Dustin Johnson and reigning Masters champion Patrick Reed have been confirmed as the latest stars to compete in the new European event in Saudi Arabia.

The pair join World No.15 Paul Casey and Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn for the inaugural edition that will take place between January 31 to February 3.

Both players are looking forward to playing in the Kingdom.  “I am excited to make my first trip to Saudi Arabia and support this historic new event. It sounds like some amazing things are happening there, including big plans for junior and family golf development,” said Johnson. “It’s an honour to be part of Saudi Arabia’s golf journey from the onset.”

Reed added: “It’s been a crazy few weeks since I won at Augusta and so much fun. “I had not, at this stage, finalised anything in my schedule for next year but when I heard about the ambitious plans for golf in Saudi Arabia, I committed straight away.”

Although the event name will be revealed in the coming weeks, the competition will be held at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “We are delighted to have Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Paul Casey and Thomas Bjørn in the field for our first professional golf tournament in Saudi Arabia.

“Royal Greens Golf and Country Club is a spectacular venue, with world class facilities, and our players are going to absolutely love playing there.

“We are a global Tour and this is an exciting opportunity for us to play in a new country which has a strong focus on golf as part of its vision for the future. Our thanks go to His Royal Majesty, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for this vision, and to the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, the Saudi Arabian Golf Federation and everyone at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club  and the King Abdullah Economic City for their commitment to this inaugural tournament.”

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Thomas Bjorn and Darren Clarke among stars to play at Oman Open

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Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn will be among the stars in action when the NBO Oman Open gets underway in Muscat next month.

The 46-year-old Dane will join former Open champions Paul Lawrie and Darren Clarke in the Feburary 15-18 event at Al Mouj Golf Club.

For Lawrie, winner of the 1999 Open Championship, he is looking forward to the challenge.

“It’ll be one of the first few of 2018 for me personally and I’ve heard some good things about the golf course at Al Mouj already,” he said. “It’ll be nice to get out to Muscat to see it for myself.”

European Tour stalwarts Robert Karlsson, Thongchai Jaidee, David Howell and Peter Hanson, who between them have 30 wins on Tour, will be going toe-to-toe with the next generation of Tour stars. That includes Korean starlets Jeunghun Wang and Soomin Lee, French duo Alexander Levy and Roman Wattel, Italy’s Renato Paratore, Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard and 2016 Road to Oman graduate Jordan Smith.

Former BMW PGA Champion Matteo Manassero will bring some firepower to Al Mouj Golf while this year’s BMW SA Open winner Chris Paisley tees it up hoping to build on his impressive season so far, which has also included top five finishes at both the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

France’s Victor Dubuisson and Welshman Jamie Donaldson, two of the heroes of the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, will get their first taste of competitive golf in Oman.

Among the elite field will be Nasser Yacoob of Bahrain who earned his place in the field after winning this year’s OHI Oman Amateur Open in a play-off.

“It felt so great to get the win at the Amateur Open against a strong field and now I have the opportunity to tee off with some of the best players in the world at the NBO Oman Open,” he said.

“I’m very happy the European Tour is coming to Oman as it’s such a beautiful country. I can’t wait to play at Al Mouj Golf. I think it’s one of the most beautiful courses in the world. I have played there before but never with the European Tour players so that’s going to be really special. I’ve played the Dubai Desert Classic in the past but I think this one will be more special as I really love the course.”

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Clement Sordet lifts NBO Golf Classic Grand Final as Road to Oman's top 15 celebrate

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Winner: Sordet.

Clement Sordet waved the flag for France in Oman after keeping his cool to win the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final and secure his European Tour card for next season.

The 25-year-old had been in and around the leading pack for the first three days and timed his surge perfectly, building on his one-shot lead from Friday and never looking back.

A fourth round of 70 was his least flashy of the weekend but he stayed the course yesterday when other overnight hopefuls, such as Argentina’s Estanislao Goya and Oliver Lindell of Finland, dropped off.

Victory at Al Mouj Golf not only bagged him €71,600 but saw him come second in the Road to Oman – with the top 15 finishers graduating from the Challenge Tour and receiving a European Tour card.

“It feels great,” said Sordet, whose 15 under-par topped second-placed Swede Marcus Kinhult by two shots. “I have been playing really good lately and to finish the season with the win is amazing.

“It was definitely the the highlight of my career so far. To finish in the top 15 was my main goal at the start of the year and to finish the season second in the rankings feels great.

“I am going to take two weeks off and enjoy some time at home then I will be ready for next season.”

Despite a lowly finish in Muscat, Finn Tapio Pulkkanen topped the Road to Oman standings and earned an extra €30,000 for a superb season.

But much of the joy was reserved for the players on the fringes of the top 15 including an under-the-weather Scott Fernandez, who finished up on 12 under-par and a tie for third – good enough for 14th for the year.

“I have been fighting off a virus throughout the week but I have been able to fight through that and everything else to get the job done,” said the Spaniard. “I am thrilled as it is a dream come true. I am really excited for what comes next.”

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