One of the stalwarts of the European Tour, David Howell, was delighted to finally take on the spectacular Al Mouj course despite posting a three over par first round at the second running of the European Tour’s Oman Open.
“I can understand why Greg (Norman) believes that Al Mouj is one of the most magnificent layouts he has ever created – and the course is in absolutely wonderful condition,” said Howell, who has played more than 600 tournaments in his illustrious European Tour career.
“It’s a magnificent course with stunning views along the coastline looking out over the Gulf of Oman,” added the European Tour Tournament Committee Chairman, who took over the role from Thomas Bjørn in 2017. “Although it’s a links-style seaside course it’s different than most of the courses in the Middle East. I’ve only played one round but it was obvious that it has plenty of run-offs and the ground is on the firm side so the bounce should benefit the not-so-long hitters.
“As with all of Greg’s course designs, Al Mouj is also environmentally friendly and it was good to see a variety of birds and wildlife. With the Hajeer Mountains in the background and the Indian Ocean running along the waterfront it really is a pleasure to be here.
“Al Mouj Golf has enjoyed an ideal long-term relationship with the European Tour, with the event starting out as a European Challenge Tour event, then the Grand Final of the Challenge Tour and, ultimately, a full European Tour event last season. It has already earned the reputation of being one of our finest venues on Tour and I’m sure it will undoubtedly go from strength to strength.”
The Englishman will be hoping to restore ground on the leading pack when he gets his second round underway after a disappointing triple bogey on the ninth – his 18th hole of the day – saw him drop down the leaderboard in Muscat.