Pieters falls short before Antwerp play-off drama

Thomas Pieters fell agonisingly short of a remarkable fightback at the Belgian Knockout, before five players crashed out in a thrilling play-off on Friday.

With the field split into two sections, 32 players advanced from each half and play-offs were required to separate those tied on the cut line.

Pieters, who slumped to a dismal on six over on Thursday, almost forced his way into the picture, but a round of 65 was not quite enough to bring him to the Section A benchmark of one under.

The tournament host was three under at the turn, yet two bogeys through the next four holes – sandwiching two birdies – put paid to his hopes despite a late rally.

Pieters was at least spared the disappointment of a last-gasp play-off defeat, with Max Orrin’s departure from Section B particularly gutting.

The Englishman went five under for the day with a bogey-free round, only to send his tee shot left in the play-off to drop a shot for the first time all day.

Lasse Jensen went out in similar fashion, while Adam Bland, James Morrison and Tom Lewis were also eliminated.

However, Nino Bertasio, Sam Horsfield and Daniel Gavins all made their pars to progress, while Steven Brown and Soren Kjeldsen also made it through.

Chris Paisley, carding a second 65 in succession, to sit as the top seed, though all remaining players in contention will have a clean slate over six rounds of nine-hole stroke play.