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Thursday, February 8, 2018

How the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth Works

If you were watching the European Tour coverage on GC Wednesday night (well, it was night here in the US) you might not have realized that this week's tournament is one of the ET's new experimental formats. It was pretty successful last year, so I thought I'd make sure everyone is up-to-speed on how it works.

Defending World Super 6 Perth cahmpion Brett Rumford

The ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth looks like a normal stroke play tournament for the first three rounds because it IS a normal stroke play tournament for the first three rounds. There's a "65-man and ties" cut after the second round, not unlike a normal tourney. But after the third round there's a 24-man cut.

That's when the Super 6 really starts to shine.

There are multiple 6-hole matches on the final day, which is known as the Knockout Round. The Top8 players receive "byes" into the second round of these matches, and the other 16 players play matches to reduce their number to 8. If there is no winner after a 6-hole match, they go to a specially-built 90-meter playoff hole called the Shootout Hole. (This special hole is a new wrinkle in this year's event.) The match continues on this hole until a winner is determined.

The 8 players from this first round of knockouts are matched against the Top8, then the 8 winners of those matches playoff down to 4, those 4 down to 2, and the final pair plays off for the title. All-in-all, there are five playoff rounds on the last day.

The new format turned out to be much more popular last year than many of the critics expected. The last day is fast-paced and high-pressure because 6 holes simply doesn't leave time for long-term strategy -- if you fall behind, that's just too bad.

Brett Rumford won the inaugural event last year and, as I'm preparing for bed, he's got the lead after his first round, Lee Westwood is alone in second and there's a small T3 group.

Although the final round is when the real fun begins, these first rounds are important because they not only put players into position to make the final day, those first-round byes to the Top8 in the tourney are valuable. So if you didn't check out any of the first round Wednesday night, you might want to check it out tonight. I know I will.

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