Oman Open winner Joost Luiten rides experience in final round

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Oman Open winner Joost Luiten rides experience in final round

Euro Tour

Oman Open winner Joost Luiten rides experience in final round

Joost Luiten’s pedigree paid off in the end. Luiten, a Dutchman, called on the experience of five European Tour victories to win the inaugural $1.75 million NBO Oman Open.

Tied for the lead on 12 under with England’s Matthew Southgate and Julien Guerrier heading into the final round, the Dutchman returned a closing 68 for a 16-under 272 total to win by two shots over Chris Wood.

Guerrier, seeking his first European Tour win, finished third alongside three other players. Southgate’s dream of a first European title died with a closing 75.

“This is why you play golf: to hold trophies,” Luiten said. “It’s been a great week.

“It’s always tough to win out here, all these guys are so good and they keep putting pressure on you.

“Down the stretch I hit some nice shots, I made some nice putts and it was a nice battle with my friend Woody.”

Luiten’s $290,000 first-place check takes him to ninth on the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, and could move him from 90th to as high as 66th on the Official World Golf Ranking when the table is updated this week. It also gains him a spot in the WGC–Mexico Championship.

It is Luiten’s first victory since he won his home event for the second time at the KLM Open in 2016. He won twice in 2013, the Lyoness Open and KLM Open. Another two-victory season would go a long way to a significant milestone in his career. “I need to win another couple to get into the Ryder Cup Team, but it’s a great start to the year for me,” the 32-year-old Luiten said.

No Dutch player has ever played in the Ryder Cup. Not many European Tour insiders would be surprised if Luiten became the first.

Wood made his Ryder Cup debut two years ago at Hazeltine, when he earned one point out of two after teaming with Justin Rose in a foursomes victory over Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson. The tall Englishman is a long way off that form. This was his first cut of the year after missing the first three.

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