May 20, 2022

After 837 days, 9 events, 5 countries, 2 continents and a pandemic, we have a Journey to Jordan champion

By Kent Gray
Tom Sloman intends kicking on to win over all the world but he’ll likely never have to battle anywhere near as long for a title as he has to become MENA Tour No.1.
The 25-year-old Englishman captured the 2020+ Journey to Jordan crown on Friday at the end of what is believed to be the most protracted “season”-long title race in OWGR history.
Courtesy of the pandemic, it has been a sometimes epic - read his runaway five-stroke win at the Asian Development Tour (ADT) co-sanctioned Laguna Phuket Challenge a fortnight ago - but mostly weird and frustrating 837 day endeavour.
Almost fittingly, Sloman didn’t even show for the final day of the whackiest season, the victim of a missed cut the previous day at the $75,000 Blue Canyon Open along with second-placed David Langley.
Another Englishman, David Hague, had an unlikely shot to snatch the J2J title at the 11th hour courtesy of his mate’s missed cuts but needed to finish inside the top-four at the last event of the season-defining Beautiful Thailand Swing. It was steamy again at Blue Canyon Country Club on Friday but Hague’s swing-long icy-cold putter meant he could only muster a $879 share of 17th place and with it remained third overall behind Sloman ($28,870) and Langley ($27, 557) with $26,870.
For Sloman, it has been money very well earned. He started via Q-School at Ayla Golf Club in Jordan way back in January of 2020.
No one envisioned then that the J2J would span nine events, five countries, two continents and a pandemic, nor finish in Phuket, Thailand. 
“It’s been a long time coming,’ said the former Walker Cupper.
"No one knew what was going on at all with any of the golf so to get it finished and come top is obviously a great bonus.”
Sloman has now quickly, albeit not in a calendar sense, progressed from Walker Cupper to 2021 EuroPro Rookie-of-the-Year to MENA Tour champion.
He earns a start in one of the Asian Tour’s upcoming $1.5 million-plus International Series events for his troubles, along with starts in the next two ADT events in Indonesia and exemption to the final stage of Asian Tour Q-School.
"Yeah it’s going alright,” Sloman said in his trademark understated way when asked to sum up his trajectory up to 634th on the OWGR.
"Obviously turned pro at not a great time in September 2019 with COVID and that but I couldn’t ask for a better start really.  Yeah hopefully progress season after season and see where it gets me.”
A guaranteed stop will be Asian Tour Q-School. 
"100 percent this has helped prepare me,” Sloman said of the Beautiful Thailand Swing. "I guess the grasses are the same up in Bangkok, wherever the Q-School is, so to get used to that and used to the heat as well, it will definitely help.”
For the record, Thai-27-year-old Settee Prakongvech won the Blue Canyon open, closing with a 68 as first overnight co-leader Vanchai Luangnitikul, then Englishman Joshua Grenville-Wood and finally American Dodge Kemmer faded over the closing holes.
But from a MENA Tour perspective, the plaudits went to Sloman.
So how are you going to celebrate, Tom?
"Get on a flight home, knackered now. Get home on Sunday and watch the football, that’ll do.”
After a season that lasted nearly 2.5 years, it’s little wonder the Chelsea-supporting champ is exhausted.