By HENRY MORABANG
MAJOR sponsors, SP Brewery has forked out A$110,000 (K273,427) to back the 2010 South Pacific Export PNG Open golf challenge later this month.
The event holds the largest prize money on the Queensland Sunshine tour and is now considered a major tournament in the Asia-Pacific region.
A member of the PNG Open organising committee, Warwick Dawson, said the event had attracted 180 golfers, which included 60 professionals and 120 leading amateur golfers across PNG.
He said the professional golfers were from most of the states in Australia and New Zealand.
For the first time, the tournament has lured entrants from Solomon Islands and Fiji.
Papua New Guinea’s very own Robert Peni, August Peni, David Yere and Nelson Gabriel, will be among the visiting professionals, who have registered for the event scheduled for April 29 to May 2.
The tournament will be played over four days.
The Sharp Pro-Am will be conducted as a lead-up event on April 28 when the professionals, sponsors and their guests tee off.
The 2009 PNG Open champion, Michael Wright, will be returning to defend his title for the first time in the tournament’s history.
Since winning the event last year, Wright competed in the legendary British Open and finished 5th in the Korean Open on the One Asia tour.
Dawson said previous PNG Open winners Joshua Carmichael (New Zealand), Eddie Barr and Andrew Bonhomme would provide stiff opposition as they vie for a second South Pacific Export PNG Open title.
This year’s tournament is expected to be the most competitive.