Golf Odds: European Tour Belgian Knockout Preview

SBR Staff

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 11:50 AM UTC

Tuesday, May. 15, 2018 11:50 AM UTC

Belgium returns to the European Tour rotation this week with an innovative, knockout-style event.

The European Tour has been absent from Belgium for the past 18 years, but all that changes this week when players on the year-long Race To Dubai come to Antwerp this weekend for an innovative event called the Belgian Knockout.

Continuing on the theme of Golf Sixes two weeks ago, the Belgian Knockout is 36 holes of stroke play and a cut to 64 players -- who then play head-to-head, nine-hole matches of knockout stroke play to decide a winner.

Thomas Pieters is the host for this week's event, which is played at Rinkven International Golf Club, and he is a +2800 selection at Intertops. The Netherlands' Jooist Luiten, sitting 16th in the Race To Dubai at current, is in the field and is the favorite at +2500 at Intertops.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” said Pieters, a three-time European Tour winner Pieters who finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Rio, in a pre-tournament press conference. “We are going to see an innovative new format and it will make it really exciting for people who come along to watch and also for people watching it at home on TV.”

Lee Westwood won the last edition of the Belgian Open at Royal Zoute in 2000, the most recent time the European Tour competed on Belgian soil. That was Westwood’s second Belgian Open win, his first coming two years prior where – in a nod to the future Belgian Knockout—Westwood defeated Freddie Jacobsen in a sudden-death playoff.

But Pieters isn't the only Belgian looking to make a splash in the Knockout this week. Ryder Cup player Nicolas Colsaerts (+5000 at Intertops) and emerging star Thomas Detry (+4000) are among an impressive generation of talented Belgians competing on the world stage.

“It means the world to Belgium to have another European Tour event,” Pieters said. “We’ve had a decent increase in interest in golf in the last few years with Nico’s (Colsaerts) Ryder Cup, my Ryder Cup and the Olympics helping, so we thought it was time to get our own tournament back."

Among the other entrants in this week's field is Sweden's Robert Karlsson, who is a relative long shot at +15000. France's Mike Lorenzo-Vera, who finished runner-up in a playoff to Joakim Lagergren last week at the Rocco Forte Sicilian Open, is a +3300 at Intertops.

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Unfortunately, @thomasbjorngolf had to withdraw from the @BelgianKnockout, due to family reasons. Thomas’ son was hospitalised and he'll stay with him. We’re sad that our Ryder Cup Captain won’t be coming over to Antwerp, but are wishing his son a swift recovery! 🙏 #thomasbjorn

— Belgian Knockout (@BelgianKnockout) May 15, 2018

Spain's Jorge Campillo, who is 13th in the Race To Dubai, is a +3300 choice this week. Also at +3300 is Spain's Adrian Otaegui (20th on the money list). England's Jordan Smith and Aaron Rai, Italy's Andrea Pavan and New Zealand's Ryan Fox join Detry at +4000.

Once qualifying is whittled to 64 players, each Belgian Knockout match will be nine holes of stroke play, which means that no lead is safe, and every battle will come down the ninth hole. All ties at the end of nine holes will immediately go into a sudden-death play-off.

The first three knockout rounds will be played Saturday, so only eight players will advance to the final day. From there, the competition only becomes more exciting as the eight quarter finalists are dwindled down to two men who will then compete for the inaugural Belgian Knockout crown.

Intertops Sportsbook: Trust the first!
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