Saturday, October 26, 2013


George Murray’s hopes of clinching a 
spot in the crucial final tournament of 
the European Challenge Tour season 
were given a huge boost as the Scot 
carded a six under par 66 to move 
into joint sixth place going into the final 
day of the inaugural National Bank of 
Oman Golf Classic.
Murray, pictured, currently sits in 55th 
position in the Rankings and a strong 
finish in the penultimate event at the 
Almouj Golf, The Wave could edge 
him into the top 45, who go on to play 
for the 15 European Tour cards on offer at the conclusion of next 
week’s Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by 
Al Badia Golf Club.
His round came courtesy of eight birdies and two bogeys and the 
Anstruther, Fife  man is hoping he can carry his form on the greens 
into the final day as he sits seven shots behind Finland’s Roope 
Kakko in tied sixth place on four under 212.
“It was a good round and it at least gives me a chance,” he said. 
“Hopefully I can get myself a top three or top five and get it 
going next week.
“I need a big week, simple as that. I need to go and shoot the same 
tomorrow I think. I knew I needed a good round but I actually felt a 
bit lazy this morning. I was sat at breakfast thinking, ‘I really can’t 
be bothered, I’d better get myself going!’ Maybe it helped that I was 
relaxed and you need that out in that heat - it’s so hot.
“I struggled with my putter early in the week but I have started to 
hole them and hopefully that’s a sign of things to come. It will be a 
bit windier tomorrow and I like that because you have to 
concentrate a bit more on the shots so I'm definitely looking forward 
to it.”
Roope Kakko edged closer to a return to The European Tour as the Finn roared into the lead at the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic, thanks to five consecutive back nine birdies en route to a six under par 66. 
It is a high stakes affair in the crucial penultimate event of the European Challenge Tour season, and for all of the top three players – Kakko, Daniel Im of the USA and Italian Marco Crespi – victory would go a long way in securing graduation to The 2014 Race to Dubai. 
Kakko currently lies in 17th place in the Rankings, just two places shy of the top 15 who earn their European Tour cards at the conclusion of next week’s Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club. 
A win this weekend at the stunning Almouj Golf, The Wave in the Omani capital of Muscat would earn Kakko a winner’s cheque of €35,028 and a huge leap into the top ten. 
The 31 year old admitted that he had been dangerously aggressive on the back nine but it paid off in spades as he embarked on a run of five consecutive birdies, holing a 15 foot putt at the par four tenth to get things going, before a bogey at the last left him just one clear at the top on 11 under par. 
“That was one of the best rounds I have played in my career,” said Kakko, whose last win on the Challenge Tour came as an amateur in 2004. 
“I played smart. I played towards the middle of greens and got into a little bit of a roll on the back nine. I had stayed patient and got rewarded in the end. 
“I had a really silly idea in my head at the tenth tee. I said to myself, ‘the more birdies you make on the back nine, the easier it’s going to be tomorrow’. That was my crazy idea. I just wanted to make as many birdies as possible on the back nine to make it easier tomorrow but it worked out.
“Shame about the three-putt on the last - the last green is quicker 

and I knew that but it’s still really quick and I went six feet past - but 

it will be an interesting day tomorrow.

“Of course I'm looking forward to it. This is what we play for and I'm playing so nicely. Playing on such a demanding golf course, anything can happen so it will be an exciting day.”

Im, who carded a four under par 68 to move to ten under, is delighted to have hit a hot streak of form at such a crucial stage of the season and feels that if he takes some of the chances that have gone begging thus far this week, he could claim that elusive maiden Challenge Tour victory.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “If I do what I'm doing right now but 

just a little bit better I’ll be fine. It’s good momentum I have going 

into Dubai next week so I'm excited. It would mean a lot to win. I 

haven’t won a tournament since 2008 and I've been grinding since 

then so finally I feel like I'm ready to win a tournament.”

Crespi lies three shots off the pace in third position after a third 

round 69 moved him to eight under but a strong result this week 

could help him secure a rookie season on The European Tour, as he lies 14th in the Rankings.

Par 216 (3x72)

205 R Kakko  (Fin) 70 69 66

206 D Im (USA) 69 69 68

208 M Crespi  (Ita) 72 67 69

209 J Huldahl (Den) 76 67 66, L Bjerregaard  (Den) 76 68 65

212 T Pilkadaris (Aus) 71 69 72, J Moul  (Eng) 72 69 71, P Dwyer (Eng) 73 68 71, G Murray  (Sco) 74 72 66

213 S Kim (SKor) 71 74 68, B Stone (RSA) 71 68 74, R Russell (Sco) 75 70 68

214 J Carlsson (Swe) 72 72 70, A McArthur  (Sco) 71 74 69, L Goddard  (Eng) 78 67 69, S Arnold  (Aus) 71 71 72, G Stal  (Fra) 74 72 68, J Guerrier  (Fra) 68 74 72, M Ford (Eng) 72 74 68, C Del Moral (Esp) 74 66 74, D Huizing (Ned) 75 69 70, A Domingo (Esp) 72 71 71

215 F Praegant (Aut) 78 70 67, N Ravano (Ita) 68 72 75, A Marshall (Eng) 72 74 69, D Stewart (Sco) 71 72 72, G Cambis  (Fra) 76 66 73

216 W Besseling  (Ned) 74 72 70, J Dantorp (Swe) 74 70 72, N Lemke (Swe) 71 74 71, A Pavan (Ita) 72 71 73, V Riu  (Fra) 75 71 70

217 E Dubois (Fra) 72 75 70, N Elvira  (Esp) 74 70 73, B Paolini (USA) 72 74 71, N Dougherty  (Eng) 73 68 76, B Longmuir (Sco) 74 74 69, A Otaegui  (Esp) 74 74 69, N Kimsey (am) (Eng) 71 72 74

218 A Gee  (Eng) 71 73 74, K Borsheim  (Nor) 75 69 74, B An (SKor) 79 68 71, D Ulrich (Sui) 73 75 70,

219 R McGowan  (Eng) 72 72 75, M Lampert (Ger) 73 75 71, J Elson  (Eng) 74 73 72

220 S Walker (Eng) 74 73 73, J Fahrbring (Swe) 74 72 74, R Davies (Wal) 77 68 75, M Jonzon (Swe) 75 72 73, C Aguilar  (Esp) 71 70 79, R Dinwiddie  (Eng) 75 70 75, M Haastrup  (Den) 74 74 72, B Ritthammer (Ger) 76 71 73, S Tiley (Eng) 78 70 72, J Barnes (Eng) 72 72 76

221 T Nørret (Den) 75 72 74, J McLeary  (Sco) 72 74 75, L Jensen (Den) 74 71 76

223 P Archer (Eng) 77 71 75, J Abbott (Eng) 74 72 77, O Wilson (Eng) 74 70 79

224 L Saltman (Sco) 76 72 76
226 C Ford (Eng) 70 78 78




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