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Asian Tour signs co-sanctioning deal for NZ Open, South African tournament cancelled

Golf’s Asian Tour has been named as a co-sanctioning partner of the New Zealand Open tournament, while it has been announced that this year’s edition of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa has been cancelled.

The New Zealand Open will now be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia for its 2018 and 2019 editions. It follows an initial collaboration earlier this year, which saw 10 Asian Tour players compete at the 2017 event.

The tournament will now include 30 Asian Tour members for the next two years, with prize money to count towards the Tour’s Order of Merit race.

Next year’s New Zealand Open will feature a minimum prize fund of NZ$1.1m (€714,000/$796,000) and will take place from March 1-4 at The Hills and Millbrook Resort in Queenstown.

This year’s New Zealand Open took place from March 9-12 in Arrowtown, with New Zealander Michael Hendry (pictured) emerging as the winner.

Event chairman John Hart said: “Through the support of the PGA Tour of Australasia, our flagship tournament has grown in strength and stature over the years and we believe our expanded arrangement with the Asian Tour will drive the tournament’s growth as we continue to set ourselves apart as the pre-eminent Pro-Am tournament in the Asia Pacific region.”

Meanwhile, the Sunshine Tour, which is based in southern Africa, has confirmed that this year’s edition of the Alfred Dunhill Championship has been cancelled due to planned renovation work at Leopard Creek Golf Club in Malalane, the host course in South Africa.

Selwyn Nathan, executive director of the Sunshine Tour, which co-sanctions the event with the European Tour, said: “Leopard Creek is synonymous with the Alfred Dunhill Championship and although we are disappointed we fully understand that the improvements scheduled for this magnificent facility will re-enforce Leopard Creek as the number one course in the country.”

South Africa’s Brandon Stone won last year’s event ahead of fellow countryman Richard Sterne.