Tuesday, 15 May 2018
Thomas Pieters  (Getty Images)
Thomas Pieters (Getty Images)

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Thomas Pieters will have a new outlook in future tournaments after he hosts the return of European Tour golf in Belgium this week. 

Pieters' family has organised the Belgian Knockout, which starts on Thursday at Rinkven International Golf Club in Antwerp.

It is the first European Tour event staged in the country since 2000 and also features Pieters' compatriots Nicolas Colsaerts and Thomas Detry.

And the planning and preparation put in by Pieters and his team has opened the 26-year-old's eyes to what goes into hosting an event.

"I used to play all the junior events here in Belgium and now I have my own name on a tournament," he said.

I think it’s important for players to host tournaments because this is my home course - Thomas Pieters

“I’m extremely proud to host this event. To have played a Ryder Cup, my family and I thought after I played and Nico played in one, it’s time to have a tournament in Belgium again. To see it now after two years of preparation, it’s pretty cool.

“I haven’t seen them in a couple of weeks now because they’ve been working non-stop – I don’t think they’ve slept in two weeks!

“Having seen what my family has gone through, with all the details that go into holding an event, it’s unbelievable. We don’t appreciate it enough because obviously we travel to tournaments and just play and then we’re off again.

“But to see the build-up, months and months in advance, I’m definitely going to look at all of those details – for example next week at Wentworth – and just think, ‘wow, people put so much time and effort into this’.

“I think it’s important for players to host tournaments because this is my home course, Rory’s was a big success when he hosts in Ireland. It brings a bit of pressure with it but it’s good pressure and I like it, I’m trying to embrace it."

Pieters has taken inspiration from a member of One Direction when deciding the tournament's format. The first two rounds will be 36 holes of strokeplay as normal, but on Saturday the top 64 will play knockout golf using a strokeplay format.

Three rounds of matches over nine holes will be played on Saturday, whittling down the field to eight, who will return on Sunday for the remaining nine-hole knockout matches.

“I played a lot of matchplay when I was young and I loved it, I still love it," explained Pieters.

"Having nine-hole matchplay might have been a bit harsh if you’re four down after five, so I saw a tournament on the Challenge Tour which Niall Horan hosted in Northern Ireland with the same format that we’re doing now.

“I liked it because I saw some interesting finishes, because it’s not over until the final hole because it’s strokeplay matchplay. That’s why I chose it, you have to battle until the end and you can be five shots back after three holes and still come out on top."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CAMPILLO, JorgeESP18 -8
2HEATH, JamesENG18 -7
T3DETRY, ThomasBEL18 -6
T3PEREZ, VictorFRA18 -6
T3PAPADATOS, DimitriosAUS18 -6

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