(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Spaniard Nacho Elvira's maiden title victory at the Foshan Open in China on Sunday ensured the European Challenge Tour its 12th first-time winner of the 2013 season, which features a total of 25 tournaments.
With the penultimate event of the season - the inaugural National Bank of Oman (NBO) Golf Classic - to be held at Almouj Golf in Muscat from October 24-27, the Tour's organisers announced the complete list of entries after the Foshan Open concluded.
Elvira's win catapulted him from 50th place to 13th in the Challenge Tour's rankings and the golfer will surely be in the spotlight at the NBO Classic.
Following the tournament in Oman, the top 45 golfers on the Challenge Tour's rankings will qualify for the Grand Finals in Dubai, to be played at the Al Badia Golf Club in Dubai from October 31-November 3.
The top 15 players on the rankings following the Dubai event will then secure European Tour playing cards for 2014 action.
With the final entries confirmed for the NBO Classic, all eyes are now on Oman's first European Challenge Tour event, which is set to offer quite a competitive field with golfers from 25 different countries slated to arrive in Muscat, starting on Monday morning.
Italy's Andrea Pavan, a three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, will spearhead a strong field in Muscat that includes Dutchman Daan Huizing, a two-time winner on the Tour with two top-five finishes this season. Huizing will be joined by fellow countryman Tim Sluiter.
Spain's Adrian Otaegui has been one of the most consistent players at the Challenge Tour season, but he is without a win yet and will be joined in Muscat by Francois Calmels, a two-time winner in 2013 and currently ninth in the rankings - one place behind Victor Riu, another Frenchmen in the fray.
The top flight line-up also includes Bill Longmuir, an eight-time winner on the European Senior Tour, Oliver Wilson, a former Ryder Cup player, Michael Jonzon, a two-time European Tour winner and a two-time Challenge Tour
winner, Welshman Stephen Dodd and England's Nick Dougherty, with three European Tour titles between them, and Argentina's Daniel Vancsik, two-time European Tour winner.
However, giving a miss to the Muscat event is India's Shiv Kapur, who finished joint runner-up in Foshan on Sunday and is currently ranked 19th in Challenge Tour rankings. Kapur, had won the Tour opener in February.
Among the ten amateur players are Oman's top golfers - Azaan al Rumhy and Ali Hameed - while the organisers have invited 20 pros. The top 30 in the Challenge Tour rankings are set to take part in the NBO Classic.
Other first-time winners of 2013: Shiv Kapur (Gujarat Kensville Challenge), Jordi Garcia Pinto (Barclays Kenya Open), Simon Thornton (Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open), Dylan Frittelli (Karnten Golf Open), Victor Riu (Swiss Challenge), Brinson Paolini (Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge), Stuart Manley (Finnish Challenge), Jens Fahbring (Norwegian Challenge), Jens Dantorp (Rolex Trophy), Daan Huizing (Northern Ireland Open Challenge) and Johan Carlsson (Kazakhstan Open).