The big talking point ahead of this week’s Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open, presented by Modest! Golf, is the new knockout format - Shootout Sunday, WRITES RICHARD MULLIGAN.
By way of explanation, 156 players will tee it up on Thursday as normal, before a 36-hole cut reduces the field to 60 players and ties.
After Saturday’s third round there will be another cut with the top 24 players making it through to Shootout Sunday, where five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches will decide the winner.
“We felt it was the right time to try something new. It’s exciting with only 24 players qualifying after three rounds, then into the six-hole play-off matches on Shootout Sunday,” said tournament ambassador, Michael Hoey.
“We will have the excitement all the way because it’s matchplay but also because Shootout Sunday is strokeplay which means we know all the holes will be played.
“Not all golf tournaments have to be different these days but the European Tour boss Keith Pelley understands the need to change some formats and attract new interest. For the NI Open there really is nothing to lose for next year we could easily go back to the more traditional four rounds strokeplay if we choose.”
Hoey will be leading a strong Irish contingent trying to make that breakthrough as the first home winner of the event.
The NI Open is a week-long festival of golf for all the family and entry is FREE, simply register for your tickets online at www.niopen.golf