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Asian Tour event returns after 5 year break

The Tianjin TEDA Open Presented by Rolls-Royce will make a welcome return to the Asian Tour after a lapse of five years, officials said today.

The US$200,000 event will be staged at Tianjin Warner International Golf Club from August 19-22 and is the 13th leg of the Asian Tour. The tournament is backed by the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) as its main sponsor and international luxury carmaker, Rolls-Royce as the presenting sponsor.

Thai star Thammanoon Srirot, who clinched the winning point in Asia 's victory over Japan in the inaugural Dynasty Cup last year, will defend the crown he won in 1999 when he edged Korea 's Park No-seok by one stroke. Park has also entered to play in the tournament, which offers US$32,300 to the champion.

Korean star Hur Suk-ho, who has won twice in Japan this season and is ranked 80th in the world, and former Asian number one Lin Keng-chi of Chinese Taipei have pencilled their names down while Liang Weng-chong and Li Chao, touted as future stars of China, will spearhead the local challenge.

The Tianjin TEDA Open Presented by Rolls Royce will mark the start of the second half of the Asian Tour season, which will stage a minimum of 21 tournaments offering US$11.3 million in total prize money.

The growing popularity of the game in China is reflected clearly through the return of the Tianjin event and the emergence of new and exciting tournaments, said Asian Tour Chief Executive Louis Martin.

"The Tianjin TEDA Open will be the third of six tournaments planned on the Asian Tour this season. It reinforces the rapid rise in popularity of professional golf in China and this augurs well for the game here and also the Asian Tour.

"As the world's most populous nation, it is only a matter of time before China produces more great champions in the mould of Zhang Lian-wei, a top-class player who has already won numerous titles in Asia and is also the first Chinese player to win a European Tour tournament.

"The initiative and vision taken by TEDA and also the support from Rolls-Royce are truly appreciated by the Asian Tour as sponsorship is the lifeblood of professional sport and will drive the game to greater heights in Asia," said Martin.

Chen Wen-guo, the General Manager of Beijing Sime Winner Motors - Rolls-Royce's agent representative - said the international luxury carmaker is proud to be associated with the Tianjin TEDA Open.

"The game of golf promotes integrity and excellence with golfers striving for perfection, and these values are very much associated with the Rolls-Royce brand. It is an honour for us to play an active role in bringing a world-class tournament to China and we are confident the Tianjin TEDA Open Presented by Rolls-Royce will be a successful tournament," said Chen.

Tianjin Warner International Golf Club, which was designed by Ronald Fream and was opened for play in 1998, has promised to deliver playing conditions that will challenge the very best of Asian Tour players.

General Manager Ronnie Lee said: "We are thrilled and excited to have the opportunity to play host to a top class event once again. We will do our very best to provide playing conditions that are both challenging and yet enjoyable for the players."

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