A stunning birdie blitz coming home powered Sweden’s Fredrik From to a convincing three-shot victory in the MENA Tour’s rain-truncated Pattana Golf Championship last week.
Starting the final day a good four shots back, From blazed the course with a bogey-free nine-under 63, studded with seven birdies on the back nine, to seal his first win on the MENA Tour on 13-under 131 and a second for a Swede after Per Barth, who achieved the feat at the 2015 Shaikh Maktoum Dubai Open.
Venezuela’s Wolmer Murillo reeled off seven birdies against a lone bogey in his closing six-under 66 to finish solo second, one clear of England’s Jordan Garnish and American Roberto Galletti, who fired two eagles, including one on par-4, sixth, en route to his final round 67.
Overnight leader Jose Ignacio Marin Casado of Spain slipped into a three-way tie for fifth on eight-under after carding a level-par 72 alongside the Thai duo of Nakul Vichitryuthasastr and Wanich Petcharit.
On a day when 45 minutes were lost due to the threat of lightning, everything went From’s way as he easily out-paced the field in a virtuoso effort that left everyone marvelling at his ball-striking prowess.
“Feel really delighted to get the job done this time around after having lost out in a couple of playoffs on the MENA Tour,” said From after receiving the winner’s trophy from Thomas Topken, managing director of Pattana Golf Club.
“Everything worked well for me. I hit all the greens in regulation which was great. This course is my favourite now. There are so many scoring opportunities out there, especially on the back nine. I will be playing in MENA Tour’s events in South Africa and see if I can win the order of merit,” said the 27-year-old who graduated from the MENA Tour’s Qualifying School in 2016.
Brazil’s Dubai-based Tiago Lobo kept up his dominance in the amateur division, taking the honours on two-under after a final round 73 as India’s Arkesh Bhatia, who is also based in Dubai, and Thailand’s Worathon Zeng shared second four shots adrift.
Elsewhere, playing in his first competitive event in four weeks, European Tour regular Prom Meesawat knocked the rust off his game, finishing tied ninth on six-under after returning a 68, one ahead of England’s Lee Corfield and three off Zane Scotland, a 10-time winner on the tour, as UAE’s Ahmed Al Musharrek settled for tied 60th on four over 148.
The Pattana Golf Championship, which was reduced to 36-holes after heavy rain waterlogged the course, preventing play on the first two days marked the conclusion of the MENA Tour’s Thailand three-event swing which saw the home nation’s Jazz Janewattananond win the Mahasamutr Masters and Lionel Weber of France reign supreme at Mountain Creek Open by Golf Citizen.
The MENA Tour will now travel to South Africa for three on the bounce co-sanctioned events with the Sunshine Big Easy Tour, starting from June 6.
An initiative of the Shaikh Maktoum Golf Foundation, the MENA Golf Tour was created in 2011 with the aim of developing golf in the region. It is affiliated to the R&A, the worldwide golf governing body based in the home of golf, St Andrews, and the Arab Golf Federation and enjoys the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) status.
A guaranteed spot on the PGA Tour’s 2018 DEAN & DELUCA Invitational (for the MENA Tour champion), multiple European Tour starts, including the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, the Hassan II Trophy, Maybank Championship Malaysia, and the KLM Open, are some of the added incentives that await MENA Tour members, in addition to playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour, and exemptions into the Final Stage of the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour Q-Schools.