Teenager Oliver Lindell proved he’s a sharp shooter on day two of the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final after jetting into Oman fresh from military service.
Lindell has just started his compulsory military duties in Finland, where male nationals are obliged to complete six months of service after they turn the age of 18.
There is no get-out clause even if you’re a professional on the European Challenge Tour – though special conditions apply when you’re competing on the Road to Oman.
And Lindell has clearly not let an extraordinary week get on top of him as his magnificent eight birdies on day two at Al Mouj Golf catapulted him into second, just one shot behind leader Estanislao Goya.
“I think (military service) is good for me,” said the 19-year-old. “We do pretty normal and basic things like shooting, getting the bed made – it’s long days starting from six o’clock and ends at quarter past nine. I’m on the sports side so we get free time from 5pm until 9pm.
“It’s good that I get out because for the first two weeks everyone has to be in, but I came from China so I said I had to practise for the next week.”
Even if Lindell gathers enough points to enter the top 15 and qualify for a European Tour card this week there’s no escaping what awaits him back home.
Low round of the week ✔️#NBOGrandFinal co-leader ✔️
Well played @LindellOliver
— Challenge Tour (@Challenge_Tour) November 2, 2017
“Let’s see how the road continues from here because over the next two or three weeks depends on how I play these last two rounds. It will be interesting,” he added.
“If I’m in top two I will go back to military service, but if not I have the European Tour qualifying final.”
Of the four day one leaders only Argentina’s Goya remains at the summit, sinking a birdie at the 18th that nudged him just ahead of Lindell at 11 under-par after another fantastic round.
However the Argentine, who was a Grand Final winner on the Challenge Tour nine years ago, insists he cannot afford to rest on his laurels.
“It was a really good day for me today,” said Goya.”It was a little bit hotter so I had to keep hydrated a little bit more, and it was a little bit more tricky in terms of the wind, so we had to be very careful and focus, make sure we were in the right places.
“I think these days the Challenge Tour is getting more and more difficult, the standard is getting even stronger. You can see that from the players who have won this year, so many different winners, and it truly is the Challenge Tour.
“You have to play really well to get yourself into the top 15. I’m in a good position, I still have chances, so I’m just going to go out there and enjoy it this weekend.”
Two Frenchman in Thomas Linard and Clement Sordet – who hit a hole in one on the eighth – currently share third place.
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