Local favourite and tournament ambassador Thomas Pieters can prepare for this year’s Belgian Knockout without the nerves he experienced in the inaugural edition 12 months ago.
“I was a bit nervous last year having the tournament here. I was nervous at the reaction of the other players for the course and the organisation because it is mine and my family’s reputation, but the reaction was so positive.
“Everyone loved the course, it’s different, it’s in good condition and the fans and volunteers were great, so I couldn’t have been prouder last year, and it looks like it is going to be even better this year.”
The European Tour returns to Rinkven International Golf Club this week for the innovative tournament, which is again being hosted by Pieters’ family run company Pieters Productions, following the success of last year’s inaugural event.
A family affair ?— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) May 29, 2019
Knockout Magic ?
Here are the 5 things to know about the #BKO2019.
“I’m very positive about the future of the tournament. I see everything that comes with running a golf tournament and it is certainly not easy, so I appreciate everything a lot more and we did a good job last year with the amount of people that came, so I am just super happy with the event.”
Players will compete over the first two days in stroke play before the top 64 will do battle in nine-hole stroke play knockout over the weekend, with the last eight, semi-finals and final all played on Sunday.
ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf champion Pieters and his playing partner Thomas Detry will both be looking to dethrone last year’s winner Adrian Otaegui, with 27-year-old Pieters keen to push on following his tied 23rd finish at the US PGA Championship and Detry keen to capitalise on a consistent run of form that has seen him miss just one cut in the 2019 Race to Dubai season.
“I got a bit unlucky last year,” said Detry. “I was playing well in the strokeplay and then lost on Saturday morning, but the great thing is that anything can happen. You can make the cut on the number and get a little bit of momentum on the weekend, then you never really know. So it’s fun and this week could be a game changer in the season.
Behind the Architectural Curtain
“My game feels good. The three of us and the rest of the Belgian players are excited to play this week and it’s always an amazing experience to play in front of friends and family.”
Nicolas Colsaerts, a two-time European Tour winner and member of Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at Medinah in 2012, reached the quarter-finals last year and will hope to benefit from the format once again as he looks to do well in front of his home crowd.
“I feel like I am playing really well. I missed my first cut last week since the British Masters last year. I haven’t really had great Saturdays, which is usually the round that puts you into a good position to have a good week, but apart from that I am playing pretty well.
“There was a lot of success that came out of last year’s event. The innovative format for one, it was nice to do something different, and I think the choice of the format was spot on. I was quite happy that I played well on Saturday and I exited the tournament a bit early on Sunday morning, but I was quite proud of the way I played last year.”