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Thailand to host ground-breaking Asian event

Written by: Staff

SINGAPORE, June 7 (Reuters) A ground-breaking 1 million dollar tournament, the first in Asia Pacific to be sanctioned by the region's three major tours, will be launched in Thailand next March.

The inaugural Blue Canyon International is scheduled for March 8-11 at the Blue Canyon Country Club on the holiday isle of Phuket.

It will mark the first time the Asian, Japanese and Australasian tours have come together to sanction a tournament.

Asian Tour chief executive Louis Martin hailed Wednesday's announcement of the event, which will feature more than 200 golfers, as a major step forward for the sport in the Asia Pacific region.

''(The event) is destined for a memorable launch as it will be the stage that brings together all the top stars from the Asian, Japan and Australasian tours,'' Martin said.

SIGNIFICANT EVENT ''We are truly excited with this landmark development which has been the result of close cooperation between the three international tours.

''It promises to be a festival of golf and through the support of (sponsor) Motorola and Blue Canyon, we are now able to realise our dream.'' Japan Golf Tour organisation chairman Kosaku Shimada echoed Martin's enthusiasm, predicting the tournament would develop into a significant event on the international golf schedule.

''This new and exciting tournament has all the ingredients for success and we have every confidence that it will become a prestigious tournament that every player from the three major tours will want to win,'' he said.

Australasian Tour chairman Wayne Grady further reinforced the tournament's importance.

''We're delighted to be involved with this historic event,'' said the winner of the 1990 U.S. PGA Championship.

''The tri-sanctioned status of this tournament heralds a new era for the Australasian tour along with our partner tours in Asia and Japan and we look forward to working with all parties involved with the event to make it an enormous success.'' Reuters SK VP0742

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