Lahore, Pakistan: The RAYA Pakistan Open will make a welcome return to the Asian golf calendar this month following a 10-year hiatus.
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 Defence Raya Golf and Country Club from March 27-30, offering a prize fund of US$80,000.
“We are delighted to announce the return of the Pakistan Open for the first time since 2009. We are excited to return to the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club which successfully made its international debut hosting with us in 2017. We are confident the championship course will be in superb condition once again when we return next month,” said Cho Minn Thant, Chief Operating Officer of the Asian Tour, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
“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.
Lieutenant General Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain (Retired), President of the PGF, said: “We are pleased to sanction our national Open with the ADT. The PGF works closely with the Asian Tour and we strive to further grow the stature and prestige of the Pakistan Open, which plays a major role in developing the game in our country.”
The ADT, launched in 2010 as a gateway to the Asian Tour, first sanctioned an event in Pakistan in 2017. Thai Poosit Supupramai claimed his breakthrough win at the Defence Raya venue in the cosmopolitan city of Lahore.
In 2018, the Asian Tour returned to Pakistan with an event in Karachi at which Tirawat Kaewsiribandit of Thailand sealed his maiden victory.
The Pakistan Open was held on the Asian Tour in 2006 and 2007 when England’s Chris Rodgers and Malaysian Airil Rizman emerged triumphant. The last edition of the tournament took place on Pakistan’s domestic circuit in 2009.
The RAYA 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 invites and five amateurs.
With the addition of the RAYA Pakistan Open to the 2019 ADT schedule, players will have another opportunity to boost their rankings on the Order of Merit and play their way onto the Asian Tour.
The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the Asian Tour for the 2020 season.