The ISPS Handa New Zealand Open will be jointly sanctioned by the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour in 2018 and 2019, officials announced today.

Following a landmark tri-partite agreement, the Asian Tour will now become a full co-sanctioning partner of the New Zealand Open after an initial collaboration earlier this year which saw 10 Asian Tour members featuring in the 2017 edition.

With a full co-sanction, the New Zealand Open will include 30 members from the Asian Tour in its next two years and prizemoney earned from the tournament will count towards the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.

The New Zealand Open will be broadcast live on the Asian Tour’s television platform globally, as part of the expanded partnership of this prestigious national open featuring a minimum prize fund of $NZ1.1 million.

Next year’s championship will be played from March 1 to 4 at the stunning The Hills (pictured) and Millbrook Resort in Queenstown. The New Zealand Open incorporates a unique pro-am format that brings together a blend of professional and amateur golfers.

New Zealand Open tournament chairman John Hart said: “Following an initial and successful partnership this year, we have all agreed to expand the sanctioning terms by including the Asian Tour in our tournament in 2018 and 2019.

“Through the support of the PGA Tour of Australasia, our flagship tournament has grown in strength and stature over the years and we believe our expanded arrangement with the Asian Tour will drive the tournament’s growth as we continue to set ourselves apart as the pre-eminent pro-am tournament in the Asia Pacific region.

“We also remain thankful to the Japan Golf Tour which continues to support our tournament by sending a number of their leading players to New Zealand every year. We look forward to an amazing 2018 ISPS Handa New Zealand Open.”

Asian Tour chief executive Josh Burack said the opportunity to sanction the New Zealand Open was another positive milestone development for Asia’s official sanctioning body for professional golf.

“We are thrilled to become an official co-sanctioning partner of the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open which will provide a wonderful opportunity for 30 Asian Tour members per year to compete in this outstanding tournament in 2018 and 2019,” he said. “Together with the Fiji International that we recently added to our schedule for 2017, we are now taking another key step in our collaboration with the PGA Tour of Australasia with this great tournament in New Zealand which further expands the pan-Asia Pacific footprint of the Asian Tour.

“We also appreciate the trust placed in us by the organisers of the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open who are welcoming the inclusion of 30 Asian Tour golfers per year to their tournament.”

Gavin Kirkman, chief executive of the PGA of Australia which oversees the PGA Tour of Australasia added: “We are proud to welcome the Asian Tour as a co-sanctioning partner of the New Zealand Open, together with their members and our PGA Tour of Australasia players I believe we will deliver another exceptional field for the tournament.

“The PGA Tour of Australasia is the pathway of champions; we have seen many great players go onto achieve even more success overseas. Our co-sanctioning relationship with the Asian Tour will ensure the New Zealand Open champion is fully exempt on both Tours, enhancing the player pathways our Tour offers.”