For the second week in a row, the European Tour tees-up at Aphrodite Hills in Cyprus, unveiling a brand new format never tried before at this level.
Although the Cyprus Showdown is essentially a stroke play event, it culminates with an 18-hole shoot-out to determine the champion.
Promoted by International Sports Management (ISM), the tournament will witness two cuts, along with a ‘sprint finish.’
A 36-hole cut will take place on Friday evening when the top 32 players and ties progress to the next round.
At this point, everyone’s score will be reset to zero, ahead of Saturday’s third round.
At the end of day three, the leading 16 players and ties will advance to Sunday’s 18-hole shoot-out when the scores will once again be reset to zero.
In effect, the tournament becomes a single-round competition on Sunday.
Check out the latest betting ahead of this week’s Cyprus Showdown
The Showdown format follows in the footsteps of the European Tour’s Super Six and Belgian Knock-Out events, both of which combined stroke play with medal match play.
As with last week’s Cyprus Open at Aphrodite Hills, field size for the Showdown will be 105, although the winner’s share of the €1m total prize fund will be increased by almost €40k to €200k.
Something new on offer
And it’s because these events are being staged at the same venue, it was decided that there should be a new format this week.
Andrew Chandler, chief executive officer of ISM, explained: “With two tournaments back to back in the same place, it should offer something a bit different and I’m sure the players will look forward to it.
“We need to try new things for golf, to try to attract new fans and players, and the Cyprus Showdown should be an exciting way to finish our two weeks in Cyprus.”
Because of the format, which sees the resetting of scores to zero at the completion of days two and three, the tournament in theory will become more of a lottery, although perhaps more exciting too.
The psychology of the players will certainly vary from day to day. With only the leading 32 players (and ties) surviving the first cut, golfers will need to hit the ground running on Thursday or be out of contention earlier than normal.
A quieter Saturday?
Saturday will probably be the most sedate day of the tournament, when golfers will ‘only’ need to be in the top 50% (depending on the exact number of qualifiers) to book their spot on ‘Finals Day.’
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On Sunday the event becomes a sprint finish although, by then, the qualifiers will be guaranteed a reasonable-sized cheque for making it through to the last 16 (and ties).
In theory, those who tee-up towards the end of days two, three and four should have an advantage, although there may be a preference to being among the early starters and not having to worry too much about the opposition. In short, ‘ignorance can sometimes be bliss.’
Birdies on offer
As for last week at Aphrodite Hills, scoring was low on this shorter than normal course which measures under 7,000 yards in length.
The top-10 all broke 270 for 72 holes on a course where the fairways are reasonably generous, and the greens are larger than normal.
With players facing shorter than normal approach shots, there should be plenty of attacking golf taking place this week and someone who can putt well in the 10-20 feet range should prosper.
Thomas Detry, Sami Valimaki and Robert MacIntyre all posted top-10s on Sunday with former Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson enjoying a run of consistent form in recent weeks.
But when the final 18-hole shoot-out takes place next Sunday, anything is possible.
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves