Cape Town - The Netherland's Joost Luiten hopes to carry his impressive form at the start of the 2019 Race to Dubai season into his Oman Open title defence at Al Mouj Golf.
Luiten started the season with a third place finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, then finished in a share of sixth place at the Saudi International.
Last week, he recorded his best result at a World Golf Championships event, as he shared tenth place with Tiger Woods at the WGC-Mexico Championship.
"It was very special last year, and when you win you need to go back and defend. I love this place and this golf course. It feels a bit tougher than last year, especially into the greens. We'll have to see what happens when we get out there, especially when the wind starts blowing," said Luiten.
"I've been playing great this year. I was third in Abu Dhabi, sixth in Saudi Arabia and then tenth last week. Hopefully I can bring that form to this golf course and do well - but it's golf, you never know what you're going to get when you start the week."
The 33-year-old won his sixth European Tour title in fine fashion at
last year's inaugural Oman Open, finishing two strokes ahead of 2016
Ryder Cup player Chris Wood, who will be starting his 2019 season in the
"It's all about hitting the greens here. They are very firm and there's a lot of run-off. If you miss a green, it's tough to get up-and-down. The key is to not be too aggressive. If you go for pins you can end up making bogeys, which you have to avoid. Hitting the middle of the green isn't bad here," said Luiten.
Wood, who has recovered from an injury sustained at the end of last year, finished runner-up on three occasions in 2018 - at the Oman Open, Open de France and KLM Open.
Ricardo Gouveia, Bernd Ritthammer and Clemént Sordet are returning to Al Mouj Golf with fond memories of Oman after previously winning the European Challenge Tour Grand Final at this venue in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.