Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Søren Kjeldsen and son Emil  (Getty Images)
Søren Kjeldsen and son Emil (Getty Images)

The inaugural NBO Oman Open will be a family affair for great Danes Thomas Bjørn and Søren Kjeldsen this week.

The European Tour makes its first ever trip to the sultanate at Al Mouj Golf, which has hosted five Challenge Tour events, including the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final from 2015-17.

Both Bjørn and Kjeldsen graduated from the Challenge Tour in the 1990s and have been ever-presents since, winning 19 events between them in over 1,000 appearances.

It is fair to say that life has changed somewhat for the duo in the last 20 years, and both will have their sons with them this week.

Bjørn turns 47 on Sunday and the Ryder Cup Captain for the upcoming contest at Le Golf National is delighted to be able to bring Oliver along to Oman.

"It’s nice to have Oliver out here, he’s mad keen on golf and he’s had a bit of a hard time with an operation on his leg recently so it was nice for him to get out of the cold and wet back home and enjoy some sun," he said.

"We’ll see if he can make it around the golf course - he’s struggling a little bit - but it’s always nice to spend some time with him at golf tournaments."

The family Kjeldsen was a star attraction at the par three contest at the Masters Tournament in 2016 and this week 42 year old dad will have the next generation in the shape of son Emil on the bag.

It’s just a great place to come and play golf - Thomas Bjørn

"For the first time I’ve got my son caddying for me," he said. "I told him when he was young that he could caddie for me when he reaches my height and that came at a pretty young age!"

Bjørn has won two of his 15 European Tour titles in the desert at the 2001 Dubai Desert Classic and 2011 Qatar Masters, and he is delighted to see the game expand further in the region.

"It’s great to have new events come up on the European Tour like this one," he said. "In golf you lose some events over time and you gain some and if this kind of event - with such a beautiful golf course, a great venue and a great place to come - is the kind that we gain, it bodes well for the future.

"It’s just a great place to come and play golf. We enjoy all of our events in the Middle East but the Challenge Tour guys had been saying this was a great venue and a great golf course and they weren’t wrong."

Kjeldsen is no stranger to Oman having visited on holiday towards the end of last year and while he is a huge fan of the local hospitality, he will be all business when he tees it up on Thursday.

"In November when we were here, it was fantastic – very friendly people and just a lovely country," he said. "We stayed close to the beach. It’s nice and relaxed with a nice slow pace.

"It’s been a little bit of a slow start in the first four tournaments, nothing really happening, but my game doesn’t feel too far away.

"There were a few things that I thought about over Christmas which I wanted to bring to my game and I feel I’m starting to see a few signs so, overall, what is important for me is that I have an idea of what I’m trying to do and take it one day at a time. Not expecting crazy things but having a clear picture. I feel I’m doing that at the moment and when I have that I feel like I enjoy the process a lot more."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LUITEN, JoostNED18-16
2WOOD, ChrisENG18-14
3GUERRIER, JulienFRA18-13
T4HAN, SeungsuUSA18-11
T4CAMPILLO, JorgeESP18-11
T4LEVY, AlexanderFRA18-11

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