Lahore, Feb 14 (PTI) The Pakistan Open will return to the Asian golf calendar as part of its Development Tour after a 10-year hiatus and will be held from March 30 here, a top Asian Tour official said Thursday.

The country’s National championship, which was inaugurated in 1967, will be held on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club, offering a prize fund of USD 80,000.

“We are delighted to announce the return of the Pakistan Open for the first time since 2009. We are confident the championship course will be in superb condition once again when we return next month,” Asian Tour Chief Operating Officer Cho Minn Thant said.

The Asian Tour did not state why the tournament had not been held for the last 10 years but local media reports here said that security concerns were a primary factor.

Lieutenant General Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain (Retired), President of the Pakistan Golf Federation, said the PGF was delighted to have the tournament back on the calendar.

“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,” he said.

The ADT, launched in 2010 as a gateway to the premier Asian Tour, first sanctioned an event in Pakistan in 2017, where Thailand’s Poosit Supupramai secured his breakthrough win on the same venue located in the cosmopolitan city of Lahore.

In 2018, the Asian Tour marked its return to Pakistan by staging an event in Karachi where Tirawat Kaewsiribandit of Thailand sealed his maiden victory.

The Pakistan Open was held previously on the premier Asian Tour where England’s Chris Rodgers and Malaysia’s Airil Rizman claimed their respective maiden wins in 2006 and 2007. The last edition was staged on the domestic circuit in 2009.

The upcoming edition, jointly sanctioned by the PGF and the ADT, will feature an international field of 144 players, including nine invites and five amateurs.

The leading seven players on the final ADT Order of Merit will earn playing rights on the premier Asian Tour for the 2020 season.

All ADT events are afforded with Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points. The winner of each tournament receives a minimum of six OWGR points while the top-six players and ties earn points on a sliding scale. PTI

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.