The European Challenge Tour will visit China for the first time in five years when the Foshan Open takes place from October 17-20 at Foshan Golf Club, in Guangdong Province.
Co-sanctioned by the Challenge Tour and the China Golf Association (CGA), the Foshan Open will carry a prize fund of US$350,000 and will mark the first of three lucrative events at the end of the Challenge Tour season; with the US$300,000 National Bank of Oman Golf Classic taking place the following week and the €330,000 Challenge Tour Grand Final bringing the campaign to a close one week later.
The last time a Challenge Tour event was held in China was in September 2008, when Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin won the Qingdao Golf Open by six strokes.
The 126-man field for the inaugural Foshan Open will comprise 63 players from the Challenge Tour and 63 from the host nation, including a number of sponsor’s invitations.
Foshan Golf Club, in Shishan Town, Nanhai District, Foshan City, China, recently underwent an extensive three-year renovation programme to bring it up to the standard required to host a major international tournament.
Alain de Soultrait, Director of the European Challenge Tour, said: “This is an important strategic step for the Challenge Tour. China is now a major player on the global golfing stage, so as an international Tour it is very important for us to stage an event there.
“We have to give the China Golf Association full credit for helping us to get this new event up and running, and also to Foshan Golf Club for hosting and promoting it.”
Keith Hardman, General Manager of Foshan Golf Club, said: “We’re very much looking forward to staging the Foshan Open, as it will feature the best of both worlds – a strong international presence and an equally large contingent of Chinese players.
“After our renovation, we have a world-class golf course and clubhouse facilities, and we can’t wait to present this to the world golfing community. Our team is highly delighted to have the opportunity not only of hosting the tournament, but also of promoting this exciting new event.”
With the 2016 Olympics in mind, the Foshan Open will provide an excellent opportunity for the large Chinese contingent to gain valuable World Ranking points.
“This is an important event for Chinese players,” said Zhang Xiao-ning, Vice President and Secretary General of the CGA. ”Not only will it provide a great opportunity for up to 60 Chinese players to demonstrate their skills, but they will also get the chance to pick up World Ranking points this year and hopefully in the future years leading up to the Olympics.”