The Northern Ireland Open has announced that it will be introducing a Sunday Shootout to the 2017 Challenge Tour event at Galgorm Castle in August.
Following in the footsteps of other European Tour innovative formats introduced this year, the new format hopes to make the tournament more exciting for players and spectators.
The NI Open, which is now in it's fifth year, is one of the best supported events on the Road to Oman and now is embracing Keith Pelly and the European Tour's 2017 vision to introduce new formats with the introduction of of Shootout Sunday.
The Northern Ireland Open takes place from August 10-13 with 156 players teeing it up ahead of the traditional 36-hole cut.
There will be another cut after 54 holes followed by the top 24 competing over five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches in what will be a high octane and dramatic Shootout Sunday.
Continuing the short form matchplay theme from other European Tour events such as this year’s Super 6 in Perth, Australia, the NI Open will produce even greater excitement because the knock-out, strokeplay format on the final day will ensure the action continues until the last hole for each of the 28 matches.
The Northern Ireland Open supported by Modest! Golf
Mark McDonnell, Director of Modest! Golf, said: “We are delighted to return to the NI Open, this time as Presenting Sponsor. We love working alongside the European Challenge Tour and Galgorm Castle and this year is set to be bigger and better than ever before.”
Fellow Modest! Golf Director Niall Horan commented: “We are excited to be returning to the NI Open and introducing a brand new format. Shootout Sunday will be an exciting concept, both for the players and for spectators.”
Interactive and family events will also be on site at Galgorm Castle during the NI Open and one of the province’s sporting highlights will once again have FREE entry for all spectators.
Alain de Soultrait, Challenge Tour Director, said: “We always look forward to returning to Galgorm Castle for one of our favourite weeks of the year and this year’s NI Open will now have the added dimension of an innovative new format.
“On the Challenge Tour we are proud of our role in helping to grow and develop the game of golf so this imaginative new tournament fits our tour perfectly. The Northern Irish crowds are among the most knowledgeable and passionate in the world and they support this event phenomenally every year, and we are sure that they will enjoy this year’s tournament, and especially the Shootout Sunday, even more.”
Tournament Ambassador Michael Hoey continues to be closely involved and has been a key figure in helping to make the NI Open an even better experience for players, spectators and television viewers.
“The NI Open comes hot on the heels of the Irish Open and what is being devised here at Galgorm is an exciting new twist which sets it apart from anything we’ve ever had in Northern Ireland,” said Hoey, a five–time European Tour winner, who finished eighth at Galgorm in 2016 behind winner Ryan Fox from New Zealand.
“We have spoken to several players about the change in format, including last year’s winner Ryan, and all agreed that the new format is an extremely exciting new prospect. The NI Open’s unique and innovative strokeplay matches on the Sunday are a first for professional golf and is sure to be a highlight on the global golfing calendar.
“The new format is certain to be more entertaining for spectators, especially with holes like the redesigned par three seventh sure to throw up plenty of drama as crowds converge at strategic parts of the course.”