Max Burrow sealed his place in the European Tour’s Oman Open after the Englishman got his hands on the 2019 OHI Oman Amateur Open trophy with a thrilling victory over Mikkel Mathiesen in the 36-hole final.
With both players matching each other throughout the early stages, Burrow turned on the heat with a succession of birdies, allowing him to pull away from the Dane before a string of steady holes saw him emphatically seal the title with a 10&8 win at Ghala Golf Club. The victory not only books his place at next month’s prestigious Oman Open at Al Mouj Golf but also gains him vital World Amateur Golf Ranking points, which were introduced for the first time this year thanks to the rapid growth of the game in the Sultanate since last year’s inaugural Oman Open.
“This event was arguably one of the biggest of my season and having missed out in the play-off last year I was keen to come back,” said a delighted Burrow.
“Obviously it’s great to have gone one better this year and I’m very much looking forward to playing in the European Tour event at the end of February. The course was once again in great condition and the support of the sponsors OHI, and the organisers Golf Oman, is much appreciated.”
The four-day event had started with a 36-hole strokeplay qualifier with an enormous field of 108 golfers competing for one of eight matchplay spots. With a highly competitive international field going for glory it seemed fitting that the final eight each represented a different country and included four Omani residents — National Team golfer Azzan Al Rumhi, Jeff Campbell, Tsarong, and Ahmad Ejaaz — yet again highlighting the benefits to the game the European Tour event has brought to the country.
The quarter-finals were played over 18 holes with Burrow the first to book his spot in the semifinal with a 2&1 triumph over Ejaaz despite an early struggle. After having a putt to win the match on the 18th hole, Tsarong was knocked out by a magnificent birdie from UAE National Team player Abdullah Al Qubaisi at the first extra hole. Qatari residents Mathiesen and Jakub Hinda took it all the way to the 18th where Mathiesen held his nerve to come out on top. The final match saw Ghala Golf Club member Campbell and Oman’s very own Al Rumhi go head to head with Campbell taking an early lead and holding on to win 3&2.
The semi-finals saw Burrow once again take an early lead to dominate the match and close with a 5&4 victory while Mathiesen held his nerve in extra holes to beat Campbell despite being three down with only four to play. The Qatari birdied 16, 17 and 18 to force a play-off before expertly making the green in two where he two putted for a birdie on the third extra hole to seal his place in the final.
Mundhir Al Barwani, Chairman of the Oman Golf Committee said: “Two weeks ago we celebrated ten years as a committee and this has been our flagship event, we are really lucky to have the support from OHI to nurture this tournament year on year. This year’s host venue, Ghala Golf Club, also deserves our gratitude for delivering an excellent venue worthy of the tournament. With four Omani residents in the final eight I think it’s very clear to see the growth of the game is on an upward spiral since we welcomed a European Tour event to our beautiful country. Finally to our champion, Max Burrow, it was a privilege to watch the highest standard of golf throughout the four days and we look forward to welcoming you back in February to take on the world’s elite at the Oman Open.”
Maqbool Al Saleh, Chairman of title sponsors OHI, said: “We are proud to be part of Oman’s premier amateur golf tournament and see it bring golfers to Oman to compete for the title. Ghala Golf Club was stunning setting for this event and we will continue to work with the Oman Golf Committee to improve golf in Oman.”