NI Open embraces change and tweaks format to create Shootout Sunday

Ryan Fox plays into the 18th on his way to victory at last year’s NI Open (Photo by PressEye)

It’s all change for this year’s NI Open at Galgorm Castle in the shape of a new format and a new presenting sponsor, Modest! Golf.
Now in its fifth year, the NI Open is one of the best-supported events on the Challenge Tour schedule, both in terms of attendances and depth of field.
This year the NI Open has embraced the European Tour’s vision of introducing fresh new ideas and innovation to professional golf with the introduction of Shootout Sunday.
At this year’s event 156 players will tee it up ahead of the traditional 36-hole cut, before a 54-hole cut on Saturday followed by five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches in what will be a high octane and dramatic #ShootoutSunday.
Note the fact that it is Strokeplay. This tweak sets the event apart from the recent Super 6’s in Perth and ensures that every match will finish on the 18th (see below for full details).
Tournament ambassador Michael Hoey has backed the changes.
“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.

Niall Horan and the Modest! team

“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.”
The innovation has also been backed by Mark McDonnell, Director of Modest Golf.
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,” he said.
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.”
The NI Open’s exciting new format offers a new dimension that complements the staging of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart earlier in the holidays.
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.

The NI OPEN 2017
Round 1: 156 players begin three rounds of strokeplay
Round 2: 36-hole cut following close of play (Top 60 and ties)
Round 3: 54-hole cut following close of play (Top 24) to include play-off if required
NI Open Shootout Sunday: Five rounds of six-hole strokeplay matches
– The top eight players after 54 holes of strokeplay will receive a bye into the second round of matches and will be seeded.
– The remaining 16 players (positions 9-24) will be randomly paired for the first round matches.
– If there are any ties for 24th position, a sudden-death play-off (18th hole) will determine the qualifiers following the completion of 54 holes.
– The losing quarter-finalists will contest matches to determine positions 5-8 and the losing semi-finalists will contest a match to determine 3-4.
-Any matches level after six holes will be determined by playing the 1st hole (rounds one and two) or a shortened version of the 18th hole (quarter finals, semi-finals and final) as a sudden-death play-off hole.
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