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Belgian Open

Belgian Open

The Belgian Open is a European Tour event which dates back to 1910 at Ravenstein, the home of the Royal Golf Club of Belgium, when Arnaud Massy won the 36-hole stroke play championship by five strokes from Sandy Herd and Harry Vardon.

Massy finished runner-up at the same venue the following year but that was as close as he ever got to winning the tournament for a second time. Three other Frenchmen did manage the Belgian double, however: Eugène Lafitte (1921 and 1925); Marcel Dallemagne (1927 and 1937); and Auguste Boyer (133 and 1936).

The first thirteen editions of the Open were played over two 18-hole rounds before the competition changed to a 72-hole format in 1928. Eleven of the twenty-five tournaments played before World War II were held at the Royal Golf Club of Belgium, with Royal Zoute hosting on five occasions and both Royal Antwerp and Royal Golf des Fagnes staging the event three times each.

During those early years of the Belgian Open, the winning players came from either France or the British Isles but a couple of international champions from further afield emerged in 1924 and 1929 in the shape of Walter Hagen from the United States and Sid Brews from South Africa. Hagen added the Belgian Open to the French Open that he’d won four years earlier at La Boulie, while Brews would go on to win both the French and Dutch Opens in 1934 and 1935.

The first home-based player to claim the Belgian Open trophy was Flory Van Donck in 1939. This was the fourth European title he’d won, having previously triumphed in the Dutch Open in 1936 and 1937 and the Italian Open in 1938. After World War II, he won another 18 European Opens, including another four Belgian Opens, two German Opens, two Swiss Opens and the Portuguese Open. He also represented his country 19 times in the World Cup over quarter of a century, between 1954 and 1979.

The Belgian Open was something of an enigmatic tournament during the second half of the 20th century as there were only 25 editions contested between 1946 and 1999, all due to prolonged periods of hibernation between 1959 and 1977, then seven years from 1980 to 1986 and another three years in the mid-1990s. Lee Westwood won for the event for the second time in three years at Royal Zoute in 2000 but the championship went into cold storage once again… only re re-appear in 2018 as the Belgian Knockout.

Hosted by PietersProductions and Belgian professional Thomas Pieters, this contest operates under a totally different format to regular European Tour events, with competitors playing 36 holes of stroke play before the top 64 then compete in knock-out rounds of 9-hole stroke play until the winner emerges. There are three rounds on the first day of knock-out competition, then three rounds on the final day. Adrián Otaegui from Spain won the inaugural event at Rinkven International Golf Club by two shots from Frenchman Benjamin Hébert.

All told, the Royal Golf Club of Belgium has hosted the Belgian Open 14 times, Royal Zoute has staged the event 12 times and it’s been played at Royal Waterloo 9 times (at two different locations). You will not find Lombardsijde (where the 4th edition of the competition was held in 1913) below as it no longer exists, having never re-opened after the end of the Second World War.

View:
01
Rinkven (South)

Rinkven (South)

Schilde, Vlaams Gewest

02
Royal Antwerp (Tom Simpson)

Royal Antwerp (Tom Simpson)

Kapellen, Vlaams Gewest

03
Royal Belgium (Old)

Royal Belgium (Old)

Tervuren, Vlaams Gewest

04
Royal Bercuit

Royal Bercuit

Grez-Doiceau, Région Wallonne

05
Royal Fagnes

Royal Fagnes

Spa, Région Wallonne

06

Royal Latem

Sint-Martens-Latem, Vlaams Gewest

07

Royal Waterloo (La Marache)

Lasne, Région Wallonne

08

Royal Zoute (Championship)

Knokke-Heist, Vlaams Gewest

Belgian Open Top 100 Leaderboard

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