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Sanya Open returns with increased purse

The Sanya Open will return for its second edition on tropical Hainan Island in China from October 28-31, 2004 with a lucrative increase in total prize money.

The Asian Tour announced today that the Sanya Open, to be held once again at the spectacular Yalong Bay Golf Club, will offer prize money of US$300,000, a jump of US$100,000 from its inaugural staging.

The event is authorised by the Sports and Culture Bureau of Sanya while Yalong Bay , designed by the world renowned Robert Trent Jones Jr, are the main sponsors.

Asian Tour Chief Executive Louis Martin said: "I would like to thank Yalong Bay and the Sports and Culture Bureau of Sanya for their support once again. It is tremendous that they are increasing the prize money by US$100,000 which is a significant jump for our talented playing membership.

"The second staging of the Sanya Open reinforces once again the continued rise in the popularity for golf in China . The Asian Tour players enjoyed their trip to Hainan last year and the inaugural event was a success. I am confident we will witness more great golf this October."

Known as the Oriental Hawaii, Hainan Island is located on the southernmost tip of mainland China . The Chinese government has designated the tropical island as a special tourism zone with the aim of competing in the tourism industry against the likes of Bali and Phuket. Last year, Sanya also hosted the Miss World Pageant.

Yalong Bay General Manager Chen Ya Xiong said: "We are truly excited to back the Sanya Open for the second successive year. Golf in China is growing at such a rapid pace and it is one of our goals to help promote the game and also the Hainan Province .

"By sponsoring the Sanya Open, we hope to unearth new players from China as we did last season when Li Chao emerged as a promising talent. We hope this event will provide the opportunity for Chinese golfers to rise to the challenge and take on the best players from the Asian Tour."

Last year's inaugural event was won in thrilling fashion by Australian rookie Marcus Both. In a final round which saw the lead change hands five times on the back nine, Both triumphed by one stroke, thanks to five consecutive birdies from the 12 th hole.

The event also marked the arrival of Li Chao, who was playing in his maiden Tour event in Asia . Li, a three-time China Amateur champion, scored a hole in one in round two to make the halfway cut and finished with a closing 65 to cap a memorable week.

Head of Sports and Culture Bureau of Sanya, Yang Hao Qiang is hoping for another great week of golf to reinforce Sanya's position on the international golfing map.

"Last year's Sanya Open was a real thriller. Some of Asia 's best players battled over four exciting rounds and we heralded a great champion in Marcus Both. We are looking forward to the staging of the Sanya Open again which will promote our city as a golf tourism destination.

"I believe the event will continue to grow significantly in the coming years and become a prominent event on the Asian Tour. We will continue to support the Sanya Open and put in every effort to make it a major golfing event in the region."

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