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Asian Tour gives RP Open May playdate

The Philippine Open, Asia’s oldest golf championship which attracts the top players in the region, will be played May 28-31 as the 14th leg of the 2009 Asian Tour.

The organizing National Golf Association of the Philippines said the Asian Tour has agreed to give the said playdate for the NGAP to hold the RP Open, ensuring the continued staging of the country’s premier golfing event.

There had been apprehensions on the holding of the next RP Open, which was not included when the Asian Tour released its 2009 calendar last month.

“The Asian Tour has finally given the NGAP the May 28-31 playdate for the RP Open,” said NGAP director and tournament chair Pablo Soon. “But we still have to finalize details with the Asian Tour with regard to the sanctioning of the event.”

Angelo Que, who beat Malaysian Danny Chia to capture the ’08 RP Open crown, is expected to be back next year to lead the local challenge against the finest shotmakers not only in Asia but also in Australia, Europe and the United States.

The Asian Tour, the official sanctioning body for pro golf in Asia, staged the last three RP Opens at Wack Wack. But with the Asian Tour contract expiring in the last Open, the NGAP wants to regain the rights on the event.

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“We will be putting up another $300,000 tournament and we expect another banner field, including some of the top international players,” said Soon.

With Wack Wack’s east layout undergoing a major facelift and out as next year’s host, the NGAP is looking at the Mt. Malarayat Golf and Country Club in Batangas and The Country Club in Canlubang as possible venues of the ’09 Open.

The Batangas layout hosted the 2005 edition of the fabled event won by Australian Adam Le Vesconte while The Country Club has staged premier events as the 2005 SEA Games and the Queen Sirikit Cup last year.

The NGAP said it will announce the official venue of the ’09 Open in a grand launch next month.

The Philippine Open is part of the growing Asian Tour, which offers a strong schedule of 27 tournaments and nearly $40 million in prize money.

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