(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The Tour that gave the world top class golfers such as Justin Rose and Louis Oosthuizen is coming to Oman.The European Challenge Tour will make its debut in GCC with the inaugural US300,000 National Bank of Oman Golf Classic in Muscat next year.The high-profile tournament, which is expected to field 84 professionals, will be held at the Greg Norman-designed PGA Links Almouj Golf Course, The Wave, Muscat from October 24-27, 2013.It will be held before the season-ending Challenge Tour Grand Final where the top 20 golfers get a chance to move up to the high-profile European Tour.Apart from the professionals, the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic will include 30 invitees from the title sponsors, including ten low-handicap amateurs.Speaking at a press conference to unveil the tournament at Almouj Golf Course, Salaam al Shaksy, chief executive officer, National Bank of Oman (NBO), said, ''As title sponsor for the next three years, NBO looks forward to welcoming the players and officials for the first ever Challenge Tour event in Oman.''At NBO, we are proud of the steps Oman has taken with the launch of Almouj Golf - The Wave Muscat, the first Professional Golf Association (PGA) Championship course in the sultanate."With the support of the Oman Golf Committee general secretary, Sayyid Arqam al Busaidi, Oman will become the 45th country to be visited by the European Challenge Tour.''In a statement, Alain de Soultrait, director of the European Challenge Tour, said players and officials were excited at the prospect of staging an event in the GCC.''We are absolutely delighted to be bringing the Challenge Tour to Oman and these are exciting times for us as it is the first time we have ever visited this part of the world,'' he said.Mohammed al Ardhi, deputy chairman, NBO, said, ''It is a great global opportunity to help the grassroots development of the game in Oman. It will help the country come up as a golf tourism destination.''Ardhi added that NBO was keen to have a long-term association with the Challenge Tour and that Oman may also bid to host a full European Tour Classic event.Nick Tarratt, director, The European Tour “ International, Dubai Office, said that the prize money will increase to US330,000 in 2014 and US350,000 the following year.Launched in 1987, the European Challenge Tour is a development initiative of the European Tour.It has helped launch the careers of stars such as Ian Poulter, Thomas Bjorn, Michael Campbell, Trevor Immelman and Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer, apart from Rose and Oosthuizen. It is also widely regarded as a stepping stone to the glamorous European Tour.In 2012 the Challenge Tour played 26 events in 18 countries for a combined prize money of over US7.1mn. Of these, only four offered a prize pool that was larger than what the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic (US300,000) will offer next year.