A new name is flying the Saltire in this week’s NBO Oman Open and Steven Troup is hoping some local knowledge can come in useful on his European Tour debut, writes Martin Dempster.
The 25-year-old hails from Portlethen and worked in the Kings Links Golf Centre in Aberdeen before moving initially to Qatar and then on to Oman. He’s a teaching pro at Al Mouj Golf, venue for this week’s event, and is delighted to have secured an invitation to join seven of his compatriots in the field.
“I coach the national and junior teams and the Oman Golf Committee, which is the governing body, thought it would be good to have someone in the field that people know out here,” said Troup.
“Obviously from working at Al Mouj Golf, I play the course a lot, but it’s definitely going to be a bigger test playing in front of bigger crowds with a bit more pressure on my shoulders. I’m used to just going out and playing with members or teaching my students on the course, so this is certainly going to be a different experience.
“And, although I know the course very well, I don’t believe I have any advantage as the Tour players can hit the ball 40-50 yards further than me!”
To try and get an idea of what he should expect, Troup has been in touch with Tom Buchanan, the Al Ain-based Scot who gave a good account of himself in last month’s Abu Dhabi event. “I’m trying to be modest about it because I’m not in the field because I’m a fantastic golfer,” he added. “I don’t think I’ll be dining out on how I do, but I suppose I have deserved it in a different way to Tom, who obviously won a qualifier. I’m looking forward to it and I will be giving it my best shot.
“I will have one of my students who is a member of the club carrying my bag and hopefully the fact I know the course will help even things out a bit for me against these guys.”
They include Paul Lawrie, Stephen Gallacher, Marc Warren and Richie Ramsay as Oman hosts its first European Tour event after staging the Challenge Tour Grand Final on the same course for the last three years.
“It’s massive,” said Troup. “The Challenge Tour event was a highlights programme whereas this will be getting live coverage worldwide. It’s the biggest thing that Oman has had in that respect. The Greg Norman-designed course is stunning and Oman is a beautiful place – arguably the nicest in the Middle East. It is good for a growth of golf point of view. A lot of good things can come from it.”