Lahore, Feb 14 (IANS) The Pakistan Open will return to the Asian golf circuit from March 27, following a 10-year hiatus, officials announced on Thursday.
The country’s national championship, which was inaugurated in 1967, will be held for the first time on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) at the highly-acclaimed Defence Raya Golf and Country Club offering a prize fund of $80,000.
“We are delighted to announce the return of the Pakistan Open for the first time since 2009. We are confident that the championship course will be in superb condition once again when we return next month,” Asian Tour Chief Operating Officer Cho Minn Thant said in a statement.
“I would also like to thank the Pakistan Golf Federation (PGF) for its outstanding support of the game. The tournament’s return is a massive step forward and we hope to inspire a new generation of golfers in Pakistan as we continue to strengthen the game across Asia,” Cho added.
The ADT, launched in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour, first sanctioned an event in Pakistan in 2017, where Thailand’s Poosit Supupramai secured his breakthrough win here.
In 2018, the Asian Tour marked its return to Pakistan by staging an event in Karachi where Tirawat Kaewsiribandit of Thailand sealed his maiden victory.
The Pakistan Open was held previously on the premier Asian Tour where England’s Chris Rodgers and Malaysia’s Airil Rizman claimed their respective maiden wins in 2006 and 2007. The last edition was staged on the domestic circuit in 2009.
The Pakistan Open, jointly sanctioned by the PGF and the ADT, will feature an international field of 144 players, with 50 players from the ADT, 80 players from the PGF, nine invitees and five amateurs.
With the addition of the Pakistan Open in the 2019 ADT schedule, players will have another opportunity to boost their rankings on the Order of Merit and play their way on to the Asian Tour.
The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.
All ADT events are afforded with Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner of each tournament receives a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale.