Belgian Knockout: Anton Karlsson leads as Thomas Pieters struggles
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 30/05/19 6:20pm
Tournament host Thomas Pieters made a nightmare start on home soil at the Belgian Knockout, where Anton Karlsson grabbed the early lead.
Pieters sits 14 strokes off the pace after stuttering a six-over 77 at Rinkven International Golf Club - the second-worst score of the 144-man field - while Karlsson produced a birdie-filled 63 to sit two clear at the top of the leaderboard.
The Swede leads the second section of the draw, while Chris Paisley and Dean Burmester were the pick of the other section after posting matching six-under 65s on Thursday morning.
The top 32 players from each side of the draw after 36 holes will progress to the knockout stages, where players will then go head to head over nine-hole stroke play matches over the weekend.
Karlsson surged up the leaderboard with five consecutive birdies from the 13th and bounced back from a blemish at the first by making birdies either side of a long-range eagle at the fifth.
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"It was a great round of golf," Karlsson said. "I've been playing some good golf lately, not getting any scores together is what it's been feeling like but today it came together as a whole."
Defending champion Adrian Otaegui sits in the group on four under alongside home hopeful Thomas Detry and England's Oliver Wilson, while last week's Made In Denmark winner Bernd Wiesberger bogeyed three of his last four holes to post a five-over 76.
Watch the Belgian Knockout throughout the week on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 11am on Sky Sports Golf.