'Lots of birdies' predicted in new shootout format on European Tour

The European Tour may be at the same venue for the second week running at Aphrodite Hills, but in keeping with the circuit's bid to attract a new audience, the Cyprus Showdown is something new and exciting.

Bob MacIntyre plays a shot during a practice round for the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Bob MacIntyre plays a shot during a practice round for the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown. Picture: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

As was the case for last week's Cyprus Open, 105 players set out at the venue near Paphos and will play two rounds of stroke-play as normal.

But, in the latest attempt to get away from the game's traditional format on the circuit, it's a lot different in every other respect.

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For starters, only the top 32 and ties, as opposed to the top 65 and ties, will progress to the third round on Saturday.

Before that starts, scores will be reset, meaning that all the players start afresh for that particular 18 holes.

The top 16 and ties in that will then go forward to a Sunday shoot-out, with the scores being reset once again as the battle for a €200,000 first prize reaches a conclusion.

"I don’t know what to expect," admitted Bob MacIntyre, who is flying the Saltire in the event along with Richie Ramsay, David Drysdale, Grant Forrest, Calum Hill, Connor Syme and Ewen Ferguson.

"It’s a golf course that I like, so I’m going to shoot as low scores as I can day to day and take it as it comes. There’s someone happy at the end of the week, no matter the format.

"We’re just going to go out and enjoy our golf. Hopefully it’s me and Mike [Thompson, his caddie] who are the happy ones on Sunday."

GolfSixes, a two-man team event comprising a series of six-hole matches, and the World Super 6, a mix of stroke-play and match-play, are other formats that have been introduced on the European Tour in recent seasons.

"I’ve done some research on the rules for this week and it inspires birdies, lots of birdies," said England's Callum Shinkwin, who is hoping to take up where leaving off with a closing 63 that helped him win the first leg of the Cyrpriot double-header on Sunday.

Concurring, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal said: "You have to put yourself in a higher gear. Normally if you play in fourth gear, you have to go play decent the first two rounds and then move to sixth or seventh over the weekend."

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