Dubai: One of the UAE’s best golfing success stories, Sebastian Heisele, is determined to make amends in this week’s NBO Oman Open after narrowly missing out on a European Tour card at the same venue in the final event of the Challenge Tour last season.
The 29-year-old German went on to gain promotion to the European Tour via Qualifying School anyway but returns to the scene of the Challenge Tour finale — Al Mouj golf course — as the sultanate makes its top flight debut on tour from February 15-18.
“I came 16th on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Oman last year as a result of my tied 17th finish in Oman, which meant I just missed out on qualifying for the European Tour,” he said.
“However, luckily I advanced through Q-School and got my card that way so hopefully my time at Al Mouj can be a bit more relaxing this time around.”
Although the course doesn’t hold the best memories him, he’s thrilled to be reunited with old friends.
“The course is certainly up to European Tour standard, it’s a very narrow course that is just off the coast so as soon as the wind picks up it can get very tricky.
“I’m looking forward to playing there again as it’s always nice to play on a course you know and I’ll be cheered on by some friends from Oman which will be nice.”
Heisele grew up in Dubai and is one of the finest products of the Emirates Golf Federation’s Junior Development Programme. He was a three-time club champion at Emirates Golf Club before going on to play on the Challenge Tour and now, the European Tour.
“When I first came to Dubai there was next to nothing there — it was basically just a desert. My Dad was here for 38 years so I have seen Dubai grow into what it has become now.
“I was a member of Emirates Golf Club for around six years before I left for the US, so I have a lot of good memories of Dubai and it’s always great to come back and use the world class facilities,” said Heisele, who now lives in Munich, but has been in Dubai this week practicing at the European Tour’s Performance Institute at Jumeirah Golf Estates ahead of his trip to Oman.
“It’s fantastic that the European Tour is going to Oman as they are really pushing for tourism right now so it will definitely put Oman in the spotlight for that week. Golf is getting bigger out there each year. I remember when I used to live in the Middle East there was only one sand course in Oman and now they have a few lovely courses which is great to see.”
Heisele will come up against the likes of; Robert Karlsson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood, Stephen Gallagher, Paul Lawrie, Andrew Johnston and Jeunghun Wang.