The European Tour’s latest experiment went off without a hitch at Diamond Country Club in Austria on Thursday.
The Shot Clock Masters sees players get a limited amount of time to hit each and every shot on the course. If a player takes too long, he receives a one-shot penalty. Players can also take two ‘time-outs’ per round, which gives them twice the amount of time to play a shot.
The players have a 50-second allowance for a first to play approach shot (including a par three tee-shot), chip or putt and a 40-second allowance for a tee-shot on a par four or par five, or second or third to play approach shot, chip or putt.
The innovations are an attempt to speed up the game and make things a bit more exciting by giving players less time to commit to and play their strokes.
Finally a quick round of golf on a Thursday…just shows with a bit of pressure it can be done. Just over 4 hours for 18 holes and still waited for roughly 15mins in total. All for the Shot Clock #getonwithit #ShotClockMasters @EuropeanTour pic.twitter.com/r08XmnqKC3
— Dave Horsey (@DaveHorsey) June 7, 2018
Coping exceedingly well under those constraints was Sweden’s Oscar Lengden, who fired an bogey-free, six-birdie 66 to lead the way as day one.
Lengden was a shot ahead of countryman Peter Hanson, veteran Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Finn Tapio Pulkkanen.
Danish duo Anders Hansen and Jeppe Pape Huldahl, Scottish pair Bradley Neil and Connor Syme, Finn Mikko Korhonen and South African Justin Walters followed a shot further back on four under.
Loving this shot clock deal on the @EuropeanTour. Amazing how fast rounds go when players play within the rules. And guys are still playing great golf. Shocking!! 😂😂😂….wish we had something like this on the @PGATOUR
— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) June 7, 2018
Lengden said that other than a shot on 10th where he had only four seconds left before incurring a penalty, the time limits were not a problem for him, as he has always been a fast player.
“It was great, it was fun to be out there again, I know my swing pretty well now and coming from a good week last week in Switzerland as well it was just fun playing today,” he said.
“The key is that I know where my ball is going. Overall I feel in control of my swing so that’s probably the key at the moment. If I just keep my mind in the right state I think it will be a great week.
“On the tenth, I actually took a lot of time, I think I had four seconds left or something, but I think this kind of system fits me well. I’m a quick player, I like playing quick, I dislike waiting. For me it feels great out there.”