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OneAsia and Japan Tour co-sanction openers

Nick CullenHONG KONG, Dec 12 - OneAsia will get off to a flying start next year as the opening two events -- the Thailand Open and Indonesia PGA Championship -- will be jointly sanctioned with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

The tour has also released dates for the three events to follow -- the European Tour co-sanctioned Volvo China Open, and the GS Caltex Maekyung Open and SK Telecom Open -- with the rest of the schedule to follow next year. An announcemnt on Q-School is expected next week.

In an important step for professional golf in Asia, the JGTO and OneAsia will come together for the Thailand Open from March 14 to 17, and the Indonesia PGA Championship from March 28 to 31.

They will be part of a stellar schedule in 2013 that allows the region’s best players to gain access to more big-money tournaments.

“This is a significant development for OneAsia,” said Sang Y. Chun, Commissioner and Chairman, OneAsia.

“Since our launch in 2009 our objective has been to build a circuit that brings together the whole of the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, the Japan Golf Tour Organisation is one of the world’s leading circuits and we look forward to welcoming many of the finest players in the game to the Thailand Open and Indonesia PGA Championship.”

The development comes on the back of a breakthrough season in 2012 which saw the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open  become the first tournament to be jointly sanctioned by OneAsia and the JGTO.

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In addition, a contingent of 20 JGTO players competed in the Thailand Open in August.

“In 2012 we forged strong ties with the JGTO and this has resulted in two jointly sanctioned events next year while also opening the door for opportunities in the future,” said Chun.

Englishman Chris Wood triumphed in this year’s Thailand Open, while Andre Stolz from Australia was victorious in the Indonesia PGA Championship when it was last played in 2011.

“The Japan Golf Tour Organisation has long sought opportunities to establish our presence outside Japan, particularly in the Asian region,” said Katsuji Ebisawa, Chairman of the JGTO.

“By jointly working with other tours and organizations, we are able to provide our members with greater playing opportunities. In that regard, we are pleased and excited about being involved with these two prestigious events."

This year the influential Shingo Katayama was one of the first players to hail the growing relationship between OneAsia and the JGTO.

The Japanese veteran, who has won 26 titles and banked U.S. $20.7 million during a fabulous career, said he believed  his young countrymen would benefit from such cooperation and that it would result in more events being jointly sanctioned by the two circuits.

“I am glad that it is realised (the first joint sanction),” said Katayama, while competing in the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open.

“I hope more tournaments will be held so that more young players will have the chance to compete against the players from overseas.”

OneAsia is in Australia this week for the A$1.25 million Australian PGA Championship, presented by Coca-Cola, at the Palmer Coolum Resort on the Sunshine Coast.

Preliminary schedule (Jan-May)

Thailand Open                              March 14 - 17
Indonesia PGA Championship         March 28 - 31
Volvo China Open                         May 2 - 5
GS Caltex Maekyung Open             May 9 - 12
SK Telecom Open                         May 16 - 19
 

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