Blog

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The Belgian Battle Begins!

Nothing quite like playing tournament golf on home soil! Really excited that the 2nd edition of the Belgian Knockout tournament has finally come round and to be honest, the set up here at Rinkven GC is already looking incredible! It’s easy to see how hard the full Pieters family have been working over the last few months and with a year’s worth of experience under their belts’, everything seems to be shaping up to be an even greater success than last year!


The format will follow the exact same pattern as 2018 which means that a full field will be playing two rounds of 18 hole stroke play over the first two days. At that point, only the top 64 will advance to the weekend, where play then becomes a head to head 9 hole knock out battle!


For those who don’t remember or didn’t get the chance to come and visit last time round, Rinkven International is a relatively flat woodland course which features heavily tree lined fairways and water hazards throughout. The circuit we play is actually a composite of the Club’s North and South courses and is pretty easy to access with Central Antwerp only 15kms away.


Furthermore, despite initial fears, the weather forecast this week is now starting to look pretty great! Perhaps a little cloudy/breezy and chilly for the first two days but by the time the weekend comes around, temperatures are set to reach nearly 30 degrees!


Pretty perfect preparation this week with my coaches Mich and Jérôme on site as well as most of my friends and family gathering to support on the sidelines! Both myself and Nico are really grateful for all the efforts by the Pieters family to make this event happen in Belgium again. In addition to the memories of our recent victory at the World Cup, the hosting of this BKO tournament truly adds to the pride all three of us feel when we play golf and represent our country! 

With that said, we would therefore really love it if you could come and join us at some point during the week! Ticket cost are starting from €27 and can still be bought online at belgianknockout.com. 

Tee off at 8.45am tomorrow and really looking forward to seeing you all out there…especially in the weekend sunshine!

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Detry in Denmark!

Very happy to be back in action again after a great week’s rest at home in Brussels - including watching all of the drama unfold at the USPGA Championship and a really impressive finish to the tournament from fellow Belgian Thomas Pieters!


As you will have no doubt seen, I was unfortunately not able to close up the tournament at British Masters in the way that I had hoped to. As a matter of fact, despite not achieving the scoring I wanted, I was really happy with how sharp certain elements of my game became in reaction to a bit of poor ball striking off the tee. It was also great to secure another Top 15 finish after a really enjoyable week in the UK and a lot of fun playing with Tommy Fleetwood on the Final Sunday too! 


Now onto the challenge presented to us here in Denmark and thinking back, I have actually already had some pretty successful experiences at this event, finishing 14th in my first outing (2017 - here at Himmerland GC) and then 7th in the 2018 edition held in Silkeborg.

To give you some course insight this week… Himmerland is actually one of the shortest we play throughout the year and is a parkland track, very similar in nature to other inland links courses such as Hillside for the British Masters and The Dutch - KLM. The course itself is very exposed which means we all become vulnerable to gusty conditions if the wind picks up! Hazards including water traps are a feature across numerous holes and the rough has also been noticeably unmaintained which could make it extremely punishing! Reading the large and undulating greens accurately here will also be of significant importance.


One of the best things about returning to Denmark is the huge number of crowds that attend this event every year! The fans always help to create an awesome atmosphere which makes play a lot of fun! Moreover, Himmerland GC actually provides Europe’s answer to the 17th hole at Sawgrass GC since the par 3 16th hole here is the fan’s favourite and has its own naturally built in amphitheatre for crowds to enjoy! As a matter of fact, this 16th hole is one of the hardest playing on the Golf Course which helps nicely to add to the pressure!


Last but not least, only moderately breezy conditions (10 - 15mph) have been predicted for us over the course of the week but it’s definitely going to be a cold one with scattered showers and temperatures struggling to reach higher than 15 degrees at any point!

Tee off will be at 14.10pm tomorrow and already looking forward to beginning my next journey at this Made in Denmark event!


NB - Quick extra note to say that we are all very excited. The Belgian Knockout 2019 is finally approaching! In case you are not already aware then it is being played next week at Rinkven Golf Club & you can get your tickets in advance online at: https://belgianknockout.com/. Please come and support Pieters, Nico and myself who will be battling it out hard to take home that Knockout Title!!!

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Update from England!

Thoroughly enjoyed the week so far over here in Southport! Really pleased with how my game is feeling at the moment and always a lot of fun to play with Alex Levy on the golf course!

Furthermore, after some pretty testing conditions these past few days, we have no more rain predicted in the forecast so I’m already excited to get back out there and looking forward to what the weekend holds in store!

Keep your eyes peeled for Pieters playing some great stuff over on the PGA Tour too...it seems Team Belgium are all in action and ready for strong weekend finishes on the golf course!!

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Back on a Links Track!

Obviously still really disappointed to have had to withdraw from the tournament last week in China but happy to report that some solid rest and treatment over the weekend has resulted in my neck feeling almost back to 100% now! Thanks again to the Volvo China promoters for their support and understanding in the circumstances and I look forward to returning in full health next year!


To be honest, after a few days off I am genuinely looking forward to getting back into action at the event this week in England now too! Any hardcore Thomas Detry fans out there might actually remember that I played in the Amateur Championship at this venue (Hillside Golf Club) back in 2011! In fact, I made it through to the Match Play weekend but unfortunately lost out to fellow ET Pro Ashley Chesters on the 19th hole in the 2nd round…

In terms of layout, the course here can be described as a traditional Links format and is located literally right next door to Royal Birkdale which was host of the 2017 Open Championship. The front and back nine holes at Hillside actually differ quite dramatically since the opening nine are laid out across relatively flat ground whereas the second half of the course leads us right out and amongst the sand dunes. Thick rough stays consistent across the whole course though and there are a decent amount of hazards appearing in the form of water and pot bunkers too.


Scoring is likely to be pretty dependent on the weather this week and even though rain is in the forecast for tomorrow, conditions are set to clear & temperatures will rise as the week goes on. The wind has been predicted to stay moderate across the whole week too!


All set and ready for a strong week here in Southport! Nice to have my coach Jerome and physio/personal trainer Fabien here with me to help prevent any issues reoccurring with the neck as well keeping the momentum going for my third playing week in a row! 


Off at 08.10am tomorrow - let’s go low!

Withdrawal

Just to keep you all updated....I had to withdraw from the second round of the Volvo China Open this afternoon due to injury. I have been experiencing neck pain for the past few days and unfortunately it was just too sore to keep playing out there today. 


Confident that it is nothing to worry about though! A bit of rest over the weekend and I will be ready to compete again at next week's British Masters Championship!


Back in touch soon!

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Chinese Challenge!

As you can imagine, I was really happy to have secured a 9th place finish at the Trophy Hassan II in Morocco last week! As a matter of fact, it was actually my first Top 10 of the 2019 season…despite the consistency of making every cut since January! As you might have seen from the pretty mixed scoring, it truly was a tough and testing track round there in Rabat. On top of that, I actually felt as though I was struggling on the greens a little throughout the week so have been focussing a bit more of my practice on putting these past few days too.


Moving onwards and, after a considerable amount of travelling, we have now arrived in Shenzhen for the Volvo China Open! Most of the players are staying onsite this week which definitely helps maximise the ability to rest and recuperate when you are battling with such significant time zone changes. This is also actually the final event we play in Asia before returning to the European Mainland for the rest of the summer (unless of course I qualify for any US based Major Championships between now & then!).


Furthermore, it’s funny to think that the last time I visited this Golf Course was in 2017 - my first year as a Pro. I was a Challenge Tour Graduate at that point and ended up being first reserve for the event all week and didn’t get to play which was pretty frustrating!! Fair to say that I am very much looking forward to actually participating this time round!!


To give you some information about Genzon Golf Club - the course this week is set inside a pretty amazing botanical garden which features copious amounts of water and heavily tree lined fairways. Although the rough is not particularly penal and the fairways are generous…any wayward drives will definitely need to be navigated away from the trees and water! The course is in incredible condition right now though and there are a decent number of reachable par 5’s which should give us a good opportunity to post some birdies!


Last but not least, it is a bit of a mixed weather forecast this week. There have been a lot of thunderstorms prior to our arrival which has left the course quite wet. But no more heavy rain or wind has really been predicted until the later part of the weekend now so fingers crossed the conditions will be manageable! 


Both myself and Nico are in the field this week and looking forward to getting back into action! Hopefully we will both have a fast start and put some Belgian flags up on the leaderboard early! 


Out at 08.00am local time. Let’s go low!

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Back to Business!

In all honesty, when you spend so much time chasing the adrenaline of competition as a professional athlete, there is always an initial feeling of fear when you look at the calendar and see a 3 week break on your playing schedule…however…I think it’s fair to say that I definitely made the most of my recent time off!

To give you a short update…after an amazing experience playing in my first PGA Tour event in Punta Cana I was lucky enough to extend my stay in the Dominican Republic after our very generous hosts offered us the opportunity to enjoy some down time in the sun! It is truly hard to beat those days spent relaxing, kite surfing and enjoying the company of good friends! It was also impossible to put the clubs completely away since we were given the chance to play some of the other exceptionally beautiful courses the Caribbean has to offer.

After struggling to get on the plane to leave paradise(!), I finally arrived back to Belgium just in time to witness the unbeatable four days of drama watching Tiger Woods make history back on our screens at the Masters! It’s almost impossible to describe how great it feels to see him finally re-create that magic and secure another Major title after such a long time and so many obstacles. A true inspiration for all of us battling it out there each week!

Last but not least, the holidays were brought to a close with a quick visit over to London (which was perfectly timed with an entire Easter weekend bathed in 25 degree heat!). I managed to schedule in some practice and a fun little round of golf with Tom Lewis at Queenwood as well as enjoying my first ever experience playing Sunningdale Old Course (and what a place that is!). You might also have seen that I made an appearance on Sky Sports last Saturday night and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to do some commentary over the RBC Heritage tournament and chatting all things golf with Rob Lee, David Howell & Zane Scotland in the studios! 

Onto this week though and we are now in Morocco now for this week’s tournament - the Trophée Hassan II. This is my third trip to Royal Golf Dar Es Salam but the 10th consecutive outing of this event on the European Tour schedule and to be honest, it really shows. The promoters are definitely experienced at running a first class event with unbelievable efficiency and fantastic hospitality for both us and the Ladies European Tour (they play on the other side of the golf course here this week too)!

Furthermore, this is one of the toughest courses we play throughout the year with narrow fairways, thick rough and undulating greens that were newly re-designed ahead of last year’s event. Significant accuracy is obviously essential off the tee, but equally as important will be scrambling around the greens. Basically there is a lot of room for error and it will definitely help if all aspects of the game are sharp!

There is not much in the way of water hazards this week but numerous dog leg’s and extensive bunkering still contribute to the test. Par three’s are also amongst the trickiest here due to their length but, as a matter of fact, my statistics are particularly strong on these this season and after a good rest, my game is feeling great which helps instil some confidence!

Off at 12.45pm for the first round tomorrow. Great vibes all round, practice complete and we are officially ready to get back into action! Look out for some further updates during the week!

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Paradise on the PGA Tour

After finishing up a frustrating weekend in Malaysia it was time to take my longest ever flight itinerary in order to arrive at this week’s destination - the Dominican Republic! Approximately 30 hours of traveling time successfully took me from one side of the world to another as I departed Kuala Lumpur and landed in Punta Cana for my next event… and first solo appearance on the PGA Tour!

As some of you might remember, I came to visit this area at the end of last year to relax and unwind with family after finishing the 2018 season at the World Cup. While over here, I was fortunate enough to make some great connections on the golf course which happily resulted in being offered an invitation spot to play at this week’s event at Corales Golf Club!

The Golf Course itself is relatively new, having been opened in 2010 and it’s only the second occasion in which the tournament has been hosted as a PGA Tour event (it was previously a feature on the Web.com). Since the layout is set amidst the cliffs and ocean coves adjacent to the Caribbean Sea, the views across the course are some of the most spectacular you will ever see! As a matter of fact, it is also one of the longest courses they play all season. This gives big hitters an obvious advantage but the fairways are also noticeably wide and forgiving, which makes a nice change since accuracy off the tee becomes slightly less important than usual. 

The weather is usually one of the biggest conditions to factor into play at this course since it is fairly exposed to the elements along the coast line. This means that if the wind picks up then things could get challenging… however this weeks' forecast has only projected light gusts so scoring has the potential to be very low!

Last but not least, it's fair to say that the set up this week couldn’t be better if it tried! Not only are we lucky enough to be staying in an incredible house on site at the Golf Club but some of my family, friends, management and coach Jérome have also joined to keep the good vibes going! On top of that it’s been awesome to spend time with my old Illinois partner in crime Nick Hardy, who has also received an invite to play this week!

Needless to say, I can't wait to get started tomorrow and am already looking forward to teeing off at 8.30am here in paradise alongside a whole crowd of Belgian support!

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Turning Up The Heat!

After a short but enjoyable week spent relaxing at home, we arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Monday PM…one of my favourite stops on Tour!


This week we play the Palm Course at Saujana Golf & Country Club and I already have some great memories from playing and finishing inside the top 25 at this event last year. In regards to the layout, the course is relatively straight forward this week but straight driving off the tee will be essential since the tight fairways are heavily lined with palm trees and some tricky hazards throughout. In addition, we are also contending with constantly fluctuating elevation levels as well as some fast and tricky greens! With all that having been said, the course is in fantastic condition and there are definitely low scores to be had!


Fair to say the weather forecast can be summed up in one word over here: hot!! Luckily however, it’s also projected to be calm and sunny with only a couple of thunderstorm threats throughout the tournament days. Furthermore, the humidity here is something to truly battle with, so practice and training has been slightly tweaked over the past few days in order to conserve energy levels. Keeping hydrated is also key! At this point, it’s definitely important to thank the promoters for all the amazing organisation and hospitality this week which allow us to find respite in/around the course and take those all important breaks from the heat!


Last but not least - it is great to have all three Belgians back in action again here in Malaysia. As a matter of fact, I even have a couple of Belgian friends flying in from Singapore for the weekend to come and show their support… the last tournament they watched was myself and TP at the World Cup so fingers crossed we can put on a similar performance this week too!


Off at 07.45am local time tomorrow alongside my great friend Ricardo Gouveia - should be a lot of fun! 

Practice complete and officially ready to get this tournament started! More updates to follow…

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One Last Push...

Well despite those pretty gusty and testing conditions today it felt great to be back playing some solid golf and scoring again! Especially nice to get off to a fast start with that eagle on the first. Obviously disappointed with a few little mistakes made on the back nine when the wind started to pick up...but nevertheless, still feeling really positive about my game after getting some great work in with Jerome earlier this week.

Currently sitting two shots back and definitely looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow! To be honest, it's hard to beat that feeling of adrenaline that comes with being back in contention and chasing the leaders on a Sunday!

Last but not least, hope that all our Belgian fans had as much fun watching Nico and I battle it out together today as we did playing!

Off at 11am local time in the morning for the final round. Let's go low!

About Thomas

Born in Brussels on January 13th, 1993, Thomas lives in Brussels (Uccle), Belgium

Member of the Royal Golf Club of Belgium, he has played on a +6 handicap since 2013

Dream: reach the Nr. 1 spot of the O.W.G.R.

Golf Coaches

Michel Vanmeerbeek, Jérôme Theunis, Mike Small

Management

Excel Sports Management, Vincent Borremans

Caddy: Ryan McGuigan

  • 2016
    • Cut at the US Amateur (T12) and won first match
    • T3 Northern Intercollegiate
    • 2nd OFCC Fighting Illini Invite
    • 31st 30th Annual Louisiana Classics
    • T5 Valspar Collegiate
    • T4 3M Augusta Invitational
    • 1st 30th Big Ten Championship
    • T3 NCAA Kohler Regional
    • T10 NCAA DI Championship – Stroke Play
    • NCAA DI Championship – Match Play: 2-0 record
  • 2015
    • 1st 30th Annual Louisiana Classics
    • 3rd Valspar Collegiate
    • T4 3M Augusta Invitational
    • 1st Boilermaker Invitational
    • 3rd Big Ten Championship
    • T3 NCAA DI Championship – Stroke Play
    • 1st National Stroke Play Championship
    • T6 International European Amateur Championship
    • Cut at the US Amateur and won first match
    • T2 at OFCC Fighting Illini Invitational
    • Palmer Cup selection
  • 2014
    • T2 Annual Louisiana Classics
    • T2 3M Augusta Invitational
    • 3rd Belgian International Amateur & National Stroke Play Championship
    • T4 Wolf Run Intercollegiate
    • 1st Sagamore Fall Preview
    • Palmer Cup selection
    • World Amateur Team Championship selection (Eisenhower Trophy)
  • 2013
    • 1st Belgian International Amateur
    • T5 OFCC Fighting Illini Invite
    • 1st Wolf Run Intercollegiate (First Collegiate win)
    • T4 International European Amateur
    • T4 Alps of Andalucia
    • 1st European Challenge Trophy Individual
    • T2 NCAA Fayetteville Regional
    • NCAA National runner-up with the Illinois Team
  • Bachelor in Science of Management and Entrepreneurship, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – 2012-2016
  • VVG Topsportschool, Belgium – 2010-2012
  • Sint-Jans Bergmans College, Brussels – 2005-2010

Schedule

Year 2019

Click a column header to have data sorted.

DateEnd dateEventResult/noteVenue
16-01-1919-01-2019Abu Dhabi HSBC Ch'ip Presented By EGARounds: 72 67 76 72  ⦿  To Par: -1  ⦿  Pos.: 65TAbu Dhabi GC – Abu Dhabi – UAE
24-01-1927-01-2019Omega Dubai Desert ClassicRounds: 68 68 74 71  ⦿  To Par: -7  ⦿  Pos.: 48TEmirates GC – Dubai – UAE
31-01-193-02-2019Saudi InternationalRounds: 68 70 66 73  ⦿  To Par: -3  ⦿  Pos.: 42TRoyal Greens G&CC – King Abdullah Economic City – Saudi Arabia
28-02-193-03-2019Oman OpenRounds: 70 73 76 73  ⦿  To Par: +4  ⦿  Pos.: 40TAl Mouj Golf – Muscat – Oman
7-03-1910-03-2019Qatar MastersRounds: 70 68 70 70  ⦿  To Par: -10  ⦿  Pos.: 11TDoha GC – Doha – Qatar
21-03-1924-03-2019Maybank Ch'ipRounds: 70 71 76 70  ⦿  To Par: -1  ⦿  Pos.: 55TSaujana G&CC – Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia
28-03-1931-03-2019Corales Puntacana Ch'ipRounds: 72 66 72 70  ⦿  To Par: -8  ⦿  Pos.: 33TPuntacana Resort & Club – Puntacana – Dominican Republic
25-04-1928-04-2019Trophée Hassan IIRounds: 73 76 69 72  ⦿  To Par: -2  ⦿  Pos.: 9TRed Course – Rabat – Morocco
2-05-195-05-2019Volvo China OpenRounds: 70 29   ⦿  To Par: +3  ⦿  Pos.: 0T - RetiredThe Tradition at Wolong Valley – Chengdu – China
9-05-1912-05-2019Belfred British MastersRounds: 66 67 73 73  ⦿  To Par: -9  ⦿  Pos.: 15THillside GC – Southport, Merseyside – England
23-05-1926-05-2019Made In DenmarkRounds: 72 69 71 69  ⦿  To Par: -3  ⦿  Pos.: 33THimmerland Golf & Spa Resort – Fars – Denmark
30-05-192-06-2019Belgian KnockoutRounds: 67 72   ⦿  To Par: -3  ⦿  Pos.: 35TRinkven International GC – Antwerp – Belgium
20-06-1923-06-2019BMW International OpenGolfclub München Eichenried – Munich – Germany
27-06-1930-06-2019Andalucia Valderrama MastersReal Club Valderrama – Sotogrande – Spain
4-07-197-07-2019Dubai Duty Free Irish OpenLahinch GC – Lahinch, Co. Clare – Ireland
11-07-1914-07-2019Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish OpenThe Renaissance Club – North Berwick – Scotland

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