Joost Luiten wins Oman Open to claim sixth European Tour title
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 18/02/18 5:25pm
Dutchman Joost Luiten got the better of good friend Chris Wood to win the NBO Oman Open by two strokes.
Luiten went into the day tied for top spot with Julien Guerrier and Matthew Southgate, and he rallied well from dropping two shots on his front nine to claim his sixth European Tour title thanks to a final round 68.
Southgate's challenge petered out inside the first couple of hours in Muscat as he dropped four shots in five holes from the third, having earlier managed to match Luiten's birdie at the second.
That was the first of three successive birdies for Luiten, while Wood quickly emerged as his closest challenger after picking up shots at the first and sixth.
The tournament tightened up significantly when Luiten dropped shots at the seventh and eighth, but those would prove to be his only bogeys on a successful day.
Guerrier slipped out of contention with bogeys at the ninth and 10th, and even three birdies over the rest of his round would only mean a distant third, three shots behind Luiten.
Wood had emerged as Luiten's closest challenger on the back nine with birdies at the 12th and 16th but the Bristolian dropped a shot at the 17th and then only getting up and down from a bunker at the last to finish on 14 under.
His playing partner Southgate had managed an early at the 12th to get back to 11 under but he would drop two further shots and finish in a tie for ninth on nine under, closing with a 75.
Wood's closing par left Luiten plenty of leeway, with three back-nine birdies having taken him to 16 under, and he safely avoided any water trouble on the last to make par and secure the title.
Seungsu Han and Jorge Campillo both finished with rounds of 68 to tie for fourth with Frenchman Alexander Levy.
Halfway leader Matthieu Pavon had another nightmare round to finish his tournament, with the Frenchman carding 77 to eventually finish in a tie for 31st.