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Thursday, 24 October 2013
Duncan Stewart  (Getty Images)
Duncan Stewart (Getty Images)
Duncan Stewart took inspiration from his temporary caddie, an Omani-based fighter jet pilot instructor, at the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic to card an impressive one under par first round of 71 in difficult conditions and fly right into contention.

The Grantown-on-Spey man is being helped on the bag by the English jet pilot, whose wife is from Aberdeen, at the stunning links-style Almouj Golf, The Wave this week as his battle to earn graduation to The European Tour reaches a tense climax.

Stewart currently sits 15th in the Rankings, right on the cut-mark for promotion to The 2014 Race to Dubai, with just two tournaments to play - this week’s inaugural event in Oman and the season-ending Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final hosted by Al Badia Golf Club next week.

The 29 year old knows it will be no mean task to fulfil his dreams and complete a meteoric rise from the satellite tours to the biggest tour in Europe, but is feeling confident after moving to within three of the four under lead held jointly by Frenchman Julien Guerrier and Nicolo Ravano on Italy.

“It was so tough out there,” he said. “The front nine was easier but on the back nine the wind just kicked up. I putted really good though and that made the difference. I played nicely but it was just a battle and it’s a really good start.

“He’s a really good caddie that I have this week. He stays not far from me back home in Scotland sometimes so he dropped me a note before I came over. He lives here and he teaches guys to fly fighter jets.

“He plays this course almost every day so he’s a good lad to have. He flies over the course regularly too. He caddied for me in the Pro-Am but when I was practicing Tuesday he was flying around here overhead and you could see the planes

“He thinks I have a great job but I think he has a great job. I’d love to trade for a day!”

Stewart also likened the style of the beautiful coastal venue to his native Scotland despite the searing temperatures. 

“I have to say it actually feels like Scotland out there apart from the 30 degrees in temperature,” he said. “Greg Norman has done a phenomenal job designing this course because it actually feels like proper links golf, although technically it is because it’s on the coast. It’s a phenomenal course and a great event.

“It could go either way for me between now and the end of the season. Unless I finish top ten this week I doubt I will have my card secured by next week. A great week and things are done but a poor week and there is a lot still to do.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KAKKO, RoopeFIN18-14
2BJERREGAARD, LucasDEN18-12
3IM, DanielUSA18-10
T4FORD, MattENG18-7
T4STONE, BrandonRSA18-7
T6AN, Byeong-hunKOR18-5
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