Oman Open Preview: Betting Tips, TV Times, What you need to know
The European Tour heads back to the Middle East this week for the second edition of the Oman Open. Here's how to watch, and who to back.
Defending champion Joost Luiten headlines the field as the European Tour returns to Al Mouj Golf in Muscat for the second edition of the Oman Open, having outlasted Chris Wood in a battle for the title during the inaugural staging of the event last year.
Luiten was one of several players who lauded praise over the course during the last edition, stating that it's a place he feels really suits his game.
"It’s a tough track and there is a stiff wind to contest with so you have to bring your ‘A’ game to be in contention come Sunday. It suits my game and I can’t wait to go back as champion and look forward to defending my title.”
Luiten and Wood will be joined by the likes of Ross Fisher, Alex Levy, Andy Sullivan and Eduoardo Molinari, among others.
What you need to know
The exposed, hybrid-links course was designed by Greg Norman in 2012 and stretches alongside the coastline of the Indian Ocean, featuring water on 10 of the 18 holes and Paspalum grass - the same type of surface Sergio Garcia now infamously complained about and damaged at the Saudi International.
A premium is placed on accuracy both on the fairways and to the greens on the four par threes as a multitude of natural waste areas and a mix of sea and fresh water await wayward shots. The wind can also turn the course in to a much tougher test, and with gusts up to 39km/h predicted for Saturday moving day could certainly provide plenty of drama. All things considered, both strong links form and a good result at the Saudi International should make up a good indicator of who might perform well this week.
One of the standout holes at Al Mouj Golf is the par-four 18th, which demands a tee shot over water and could well be a title decider. Last year, Luiten birdied it twice in four attempts, and safely navigated the water as he eased to a 72nd hole par on his way to a two shot victory.
The course opened its door to the professional golfing scene in 2013 with the Oman Golf Classic – the penultimate event on the European Challenge Tour schedule. It soon was upgraded to the Challenge Tour Grand Final just two years later before the European Tour added it to their schedule in 2018.
Course: Par 72, 7,365 yards
Defending Champion: Joost Luiten,
Race to Dubai Points: 2,750
Prize Fund: $1,750,000
Oman Open: How to watch the European Tour in the UK
Thursday: Sky Sports Main Event (06:30), Sky Sports Golf (06:30), Sky Sports Main Event (10:00), Sky Sports Golf (10:00)
Friday: Sky Sports Main Event (06:30), Sky Sports Golf (06:30), Sky Sports Golf (10:00), Sky Sports Main Event (10:00)
Saturday & Sunday: Sky Sports Golf (08:00), Sky Sports Main Event (08:00)
Oman Open: Betting Tips
Joost Luiten: 10/1
The favourite this week is the defending champion Luiten, who returns to Oman following a T10 in Mexico last week, which was his third top 10 in four starts this year. He ranks 3rd for both SG: Tee to green, SG: Approach the green, 7th for scoring average and 15th for GIR on the European Tour this season.
Thomas Pieters: 11/1
Pieters has been incredibly consistent of late, posting eight consecutive top 30s since October, which includes a T11 at the World Super 6 in Australia. He ranks 7th for birdie average, and inside the top 20 on Tour for Scoring Average, Putts per GIR and SG: Off the tee.
Alex Levy: 22/1
Levy finished T4 at the Oman Open and 5th in his last start at the Saudi International and is expected to do well this week despite not boasting any particular stand-out stats.
Ross Fisher: 22/1
Fisher finished T13 during his last start at the Saudi International, which was his best result since a 4th place at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in November. Ranks 1st for SG: Approach the green, 11th for par-four scoring, 13th for birdie average and 25th for scoring average.
Justin Harding: 33/1
Justin Harding has been one of the more threatening figures on the European Tour the past few weeks, having finished T11 in Saudi Arabia and posting two other top 10s in Dubai and the ISPS Handa Vic Open before a T26 in his last start at the World Super 6 Perth. Ranks 6th for scoring average and inside the top 25 on Tour for SG: Around the green, SG: Putting and Birdie average.
Paul Dunne: 40/1
Dunne finished 3rd in the ISPS World Super 6 Perth which followed a T17 the week prior at the Vic Open, so he's heading to Oman with some form. Didn't tee up last year. Ranks 23rd SG: Putting.
Marcus Kinhult: 45/1
A T16 in his last Oman outing (2nd here on the Challenge here) and a T18 at the Saudi International suggest course form not to be overlooked as he seeks his maiden title. Three top 25s in his last five starts.
Chris Wood: 50/1
Wood hasn't teed up since he finished 59th at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November, but returns to the scene of his runner up finish at the Oman Open - one of three runner-up finishes in 2018.
Victor Perez: 50/1
A T13 at the Saudi International in his last start indicates he could perform well at the similar style course. Had a string of top 10s on the Challenge Tour at the end of last year which culminated in a T3 at the Hong Kong Open in November. Ranks 10th SG: Off the tee and 26th for both Scoring average and Driving Accuracy.