Belgian Knockout: Thomas Pieters keeping focus on golf course
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 29/05/19 3:19pm
Thomas Pieters believes he is better prepared to juggle playing with his off-course commitments ahead of hosting the Belgian Knockout for a second time.
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The innovative tournament returns to Rinkven International Golf Club this week after a successful debut last year, with the event once again hosted and promoted by Pieters and his family.
The top 32 from each side of the draw after 36 holes of traditional stroke play advance to the weekend, with players then going head-to-head in nine-hole knockout matches.
Pieters was eliminated in the last-64 last year as Adrian Otaegui claimed the inaugural title, with the former Ryder Cup star hoping to make further progress this time around.
"I was a bit nervous last year having the tournament here," Pieters said. "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."
Pieters is one of three players from the world's top 100 in action at Antwerp, with world No 74 Tom Lewis the highest-ranked in the field and world No 84 Otaegui aiming to successfully defend a European Tour title for the first time.
"I am very motivated, and it is a nice challenge to defend my title, so I will do my best to defend it," Otaegui said.
"I've struggled a little bit the last couple of months, but I feel like it's getting better. I played nine holes on Monday and nine on Tuesday, so it's feeling good with my swing."
Watch the Belgian Knockout throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 11am on Sky Sports Golf.