June 20, 2017 / 4:50 AM / 2 months ago

Asian Tour to co-sanction New Zealand Open in 2018, 2019

(Reuters) - The Asian Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia have agreed to co-sanction the New Zealand Open in 2018 and 2019, officials said on Tuesday.

Prize money will count towards the Asian Tour's Order of Merit and 30 Tour members will be included at the event, which will be played from March 1 to 4 next year at The Hills and the Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.

The tournament, which is in the pro-am format, had been co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the U.S. PGA Tour's secondary Nationwide Tour in the past, but has been solely sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia since 2011.

A smaller scale collaboration this year saw 10 Asian Tour members feature in the tournament.

"Following a landmark tri-partite agreement, the Asian Tour will now become a full co-sanctioning partner of the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open...," officials said in a statement.

"We are thrilled to become an official co-sanctioning partner of the ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open which will provide a wonderful opportunity for 30 Asian Tour members per year to compete in this outstanding tournament in 2018 and 2019," Asian Tour CEO Josh Burack said.

The tournament will offer a minimum prize fund of NZ$1.1 million ($796,840), the statement said.

($1 = 1.3805 New Zealand dollars)

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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