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The ongoing Oman Open, the prestigious European Tour being organised for the second time in the country,

has evoked praises from the players as well as fans who have braved strong winds to cheer their heroes.

And the success of Oman Open, which carries a prize-money of US$1.75mn, was welcomed by H E Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhi, the Minister of Oil and Gas.

H E Dr Rumhi is the force behind the hosting of this edition of the prestigious golf tourney following the pullout of the main sponsor late last year.

In his exclusive remarks to Muscat Daily  on Friday, when the second round had to be suspended due to dust storm, H E Dr Rumhi said, “It is nice to see so many people attend the event. It is a festive atmosphere…and that is what we want – people to come and enjoy golf.”

The Oman Open is being played at the stunning Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf and is being promoted by the Oman Golf Committee for the first time. “Our focus at this year’s Oman Open is to promote the sultanate. That’s the key mission and we have taken a lot of steps to promote Oman as a tourism and golf destination for viewers across the globe. Be it the tee boxes or the display boards that have been put up at the course, one can see beautiful posters of Salalah, Rustaq, Musandam and Jebel Akhdar.

“Besides, we have highlighted the investment potential Oman offers through large display boards. Oman Open provides a perfect platform to promote the sultanate across the world.”

H E Dr Rumhi, who is himself an avid golfer, also had a share of his participation in Oman Open. Not only did he take part in the Pro-Am event on Wednesday but on Friday, took up the role of a caddie for his son and Oman’s No 1 amateur golfer, Azaan al Rumhi.

Azaan, who became the first Omani to feature on a European Tour last year, shot two rounds of ten over 82 for a total of 164 under tough playing conditions, which incidentally was four shots better than Saudi Arabia’s first pro golfer Othman al Mulla, who finished with 168.

H E Dr Rumhi said that ‘we are working closely with the European Tour and the agenda is to do better next year’. “So far, it looks that we have done better than last year and this gives us confidence of a much-better event next year. We are learning to make Oman Open a major stop for golfers in the world as we believe that Oman offers everything for a world-class event.”

Apex Media is the official media sponsor of the event.

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