Bjorn and Dunne headline second GolfSixes event
All eyes turn to the Centurion Golf Club and the second edition of GolfSixes this weekend.
After the success of the first staging last year in Hertfordshire, this time around the event has brought in some new innovations.
In addition to shot clocks, longest drives and closest to the pin holes, women will also take part with Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn and Solheim Cup skipper Catriona Matthew paired together – the first male and female professionals to play together in a competitive match play format.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Sixteen teams of two compete in a four-group round robin format over six holes on the Saturday.
Then the format changes to straight knockout on the second day but every shot counts in this reduced set-up.
Greensomes – meaning the teams pick their best tee shot and then alternate – will be used with matches decided by most holes won out of the six.
The top two from each of the four groups go into the quarter-finals which begin on Sunday with the semis and final to follow on the same day.
In addition to two-time Open runner-up Bjorn, there are others that Claret Jug fans will be keeping a close eye on. Not least Irishman Paul Dunne – the British Masters champion – who surprised everyone to be the joint overnight leader at The Open at St Andrews in 2015 while still an amateur.
Dunne and playing mate Gavin Moynihan are in Group C alongside Edoardo Molinari representing Italy and Richie Ramsay who caught the eye at last year’s Open and will represent Scotland.
Potential Ryder Cup debutant Alex Levy leads the way for France in an all-European group.
Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace lead the charge for England in Group D that also includes the female pairing of Georgia Hall and Charley Hull.
WHO WILL WIN?
Defending champions Denmark look a strong bet with the returning Thorbjorn Olesen and Lucas Bjerregaard leading the way in Group A.
USA are represented by Daniel Im and David Lipsky while the European Women of Carlota Ciganda and Mel Reid are also worth keeping an eye on.
Thongchai Jaidee – who finished tied 13th at The Open in 2009 – is also in Group A with his Thailand teammate Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
In Group B – that includes the Captain’s Team of Bjorn and Matthew – Australia will take some stopping. Sam Brazel was a runner-up in the inaugural event last year and this time around is paired with Wade Ormsby – who won his maiden European Tour event just before Christmas.