China's oldest professional golf tournament has ramped up its prize money by 20 percent, found a new venue and new slot on the calendar in a bid to attract the world's best in 2011, organisers said on Wednesday.
The China Open will this year move from Suzhou city in eastern China to Luxehills International Country Club in Chengdu in Sichuan Province, south west China.
The tournament, pushed back a week this year to April 21-24, will boast a fattened prize pot of 20 million Chinese Renminbi ($3.038 million) -- offering 3.3m Renminbi to the winner.
"Having secured a crucial week in the golf calendar and with a more relaxed travelling schedule for the top players coming from the season's first Major, the US Masters at Augusta, I am confident that another vital step has been taken towards the long term success," Per Ericsson of sponsors Volvo Event Management said.
"Furthermore, the fact that (the event) is offering the second largest prize fund on the European Tour spring schedule, will ensure that the cream of European and Asian golfers will be attracted to the Volvo China Open, which is already the most prestigious open championship in Asia."
The China Golf Association said it was delighted with the event's sponsors' ambitions and investment in the tournament.
"We have all shared in the vision and worked extremely hard to take the Volvo China Open to the next level," said China Golf Association Secretary General Zhang Xiaoning.
"With golf in the Olympics in 2016, we envisage a huge rise in popularity of golf in China and feel sure that the move to Luxehills in Chengdu will inspire many youngsters there and throughout China and set them on the path towards enjoying the great game of golf."
The 17th China Open will be staged under the auspices of the China Golf Association and will be co-sanctioned by OneAsia and the European Tour.
South Korea's Yang Yong-eun won the China Open last year, when it was held at Suzhou's Jinji golf course in an earlier slot from April 15-18.
($1 = 6.582 Chinese Renminbis)
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