May 05, 2017: The first ever GolfSixes event takes place this week at Centurion Golf Club in England. 16 teams tee it up in a greensomes, six-hole format with group play on Saturday and then three knockout rounds on Sunday.
Whilst none of the teams have history in this form of the game, the format should favour certain players and partnerships. With that in mind, our statistics guru has selected three teams to look out for.
Grégory Bourdy and Alex Levy come into the week as two of the most in-form players on the European Tour. Levy won his fourth title last week at the Volvo China Open, making up seven shots in the final round to chase down Dylan Frittelli in a play-off. The 26 year old has three top tens in his last four starts and finished fourth in his last start in the UK at last season’s British Masters, nearby at the Grove.
Bourdy on the other hand finished third at the Shenzhen International two weeks ago including a perfect hole in one in the third round. As a pair, the duo match up well with Bourdy leading the field in fairways and Levy ranking in the top five in Scrambling and Putts per Green in Regulation.
South Africa are the only team who arrive in England with two winners already in the 2017 Race to Dubai. Brandon Stone won in impressive style at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December while Darren Fichardt won his first title in four years at the Joburg Open in April.
With Stone’s distance and aggressive play tee-to-green and Fichardt’s straight and consistent game, the two should compliment each other well in this week’s format.Only England’s Chris Wood ranks higher than Stone this season in terms of Putts per Green in Regulation, so if the South Africans can rely on Fichardt’s accurate approach play, don’t be surprised to see Stone converting birdie putts.
When it comes to greensomes, having a big hitter in your team can be a huge benefit. Few players hit it longer than Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, who is paired up with youngster Thomas Detry this week. Neither player has hit the ground running in terms of results this season but the new format could be exactly what they need.
As a team, they have the longest combined average driving distance in the field, at more than 600 yards, and with two par fives in play over the six holes, that should set them up with a couple of eagle chances in each match. Both players also rank in the top four players in the field in Greens in Regulation. If the pair can get the read of the Centurion greens, they could be a hard team to beat this week.