Plenty of problems for Pieters at Belgian Knockout

Thomas Pieters endured a nightmare day at the Belgian Knockout to leave his hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages in tatters.

The top 32 players from each side of the draw after 36 holes of stroke play will qualify for the weekend’s elimination rounds, which will see players go head to head in nine-hole contests.

Anton Karlsson shot an eight-under 63 to top the leaderboard after round one, but Pieters slumped to a six-over 77, leaving him second-last of the 144 players in the field.

Pieters, the third-highest ranked player in action at Antwerp’s Rinkven International Golf Club, managed only two birdies, which were offset by six bogeys and a double-bogey at the fourth.

Defending champion Adrian Otaegui is well placed to make the weekend after a 67, while Karlsson’s nearest challengers are Dean Burmester, Chris Paisley and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who all managed six-under scores.