Cyprus Showdown Preview, Picks & Analysis
The Cyprus Showdown will break new ground on the European Tour as the 16 leading players and ties after two cuts go head-to-head in a final round shootout.
The second of two consecutive events on the island, the Cyprus Showdown at Aphrodite Hills will feature a 105-man field for the first two rounds of strokeplay, with the top 32 players and ties progressing to Saturday’s shootout with their scores reset.
A Sunday showdown is in prospect with the top 16 players and ties in Saturday’s shootout progressing through to the final day. Once again, their scores will be reset with the remaining players battling it out in a further 18-hole shootout for the €200,000 first prize.
There has been a mixed response to the format on social media, with many people pointing out that somebody could shoot rounds of, say, 62, 65 and 63 over the first three days and then finish with a 70 and lose the tournament. The point that the critics miss is that this is a one-off and surely the European Tour is to be praised for continuing to be innovative in its approach to tournament golf.
(Aphrodite Hills - Stunning Venue)
And with 16 players all going into that final round knowing that they start from a level playing field it is safe to assume that we will witness some fantastic attacking golf. I am a huge fan of Keith Pelley, the head honcho at the European Tour, who has steadfastly refused to let the grass grow under his feet and whose team has done such an astonishing job since the lockdown ended.
Ben Cowen, the European Tour’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer International, said: “The European Tour has been a pioneer of innovative new formats in recent years so we welcome promoter ISM’s ambition in bringing a new format to the European Tour as we make our first visit to the island of Cyprus.
“Not only do these events help give valuable playing opportunities to our members, but we are able to showcase Cyprus and the excellent PGA National Cyprus Golf Course at Aphrodite Hills. This exciting format will undoubtedly add to that spotlight and we are confident it be wholly enjoyed by our global television audience, bringing an exciting and dramatic conclusion to our fortnight in Paphos.”
Both events have been promoted by ISM, which has a long history of holding tournaments. The Cyprus events continued the European Tour’s strategy of staging tournaments in geographical clusters wherever possible to reduce the onus on international travel.
This is the first time the European Tour has held events on the island, and Cyprus will be the 49th nation visited by the Tour in its 48-year history. We are now heading towards the climax of the season, with three tournaments in South Africa before the circus heads to Dubai for the season-ending Dubai World Championship. And then it starts all over again. We hope!
The winner this week will be somebody who is not afraid to attack and it is difficult to see beyond Rasmus Hojgaard, who is enjoying a sensational season. He has already won twice and has ironed out the inconsistency that dogged his game earlier in the year. He returned after the lockdown like a man possessed, winning the UK Championship, finishing second at the British Masters and third at the English Championship. And he is still only 19 years old. The young Dane makes birdies for fun and will relish this challenge.
Look out, too, for Englishman David Horsey, a multiple European Tour winner who has been in something of a slump of late but who is finally coming out the other side. Confidence is everything in this game and Horsey has rediscovered his. And if Nicolas Colsaerts can keep the ball in play he has the game to have a lot of fun at Aphrodite Hills.
Rasmus Hojgaard. Looking like a Ryder Cup shoo-in
Nicolas Colsaerts. Makes birdies for fun
David Horsey. Finding some proper form again
Rasmus Hojgaard. Already a two-time winner
Nicolas Colsaerts. Brilliant ball striker
David Horsey. Knows how to win
Jorge Campillo. Seems to have been around forever
Pablo Larrazabal. Looking for some consistency
Sebastian Soderberg. Has shown some decent form recently
Marcus Kinhult. Impressive young golfer
Thomas Detry. Only weakness is on the greens
Sam Horsfield. Missed the cut last week - looking to make amends
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Tags: european tour