Joost Luiten returned to the winners’ circle for the first time in two years with a two-stroke victory at the inaugural NBO Oman Open – moving him into contention for the automatic qualification spots for The 2018 Ryder Cup.
The Dutchman, who now lies in 68th place in the Official World Golf Ranking, shared the lead with France’s Julien Guerrier and England’s Matthew Southgate going into the final round in Muscat, but he pulled away with a closing 68 to win by two.
After his sixth European Tour victory, Luiten moves up to 12th in the projected rankings, hot on the heels of Shane Lowry, Paul Dunne and Chris Paisley.
Following the completion of the NBO Oman Open and the PGA Tour’s Genesis Open the top eight in the projected team remain unchanged – with Justin Rose and Tyrrell Hatton still leading the way.
The points race, which began at the REAL D+D Czech Masters last year, will heat up once May comes around, when points earned will be multiplied by 1.5 at Rolex Series events.
This change to the points system will come into effect at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the first Rolex Series event of the season, promising plenty of drama over the coming year.