Dec 19 (Reuters) - The OneAsia golf circuit will hold a qualifying school in California next month to cater for the growing number of Asian golfers based on the U.S. west coast, the tour said on Wednesday.
The final stage of the American Q-school would take place at the Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms from Jan. 29 to Feb. 1, the tour said in a statement. There will also be a final stage school taking place in Malaysia the following week.
“As we enter our fifth season, there has been phenomenal interest in OneAsia from around the world and we feel that holding one of our Q-School tournaments in the United States will satisfy that demand,” OneAsia’s Chairman and Commissioner Sang Y. Chun said in a statement.
“With our tournaments all offering a minimum purse of around $1 million, it is hardly surprising that interest in OneAsia has spread outside the region. In just four years we have become a major golf brand with international recognition.”
Chun said holding a qualifying tournament in California made sense as more Asia-Pacific players were going to college on the U.S. western seaboard. It also offers facilities generally unavailable in Korea and northern China during the winter.
The OneAsia tour began in 2009 with the China Golf Association, PGA of Australia, Korea Golf Tour and Korea Golf Association all founding members.
It began with five events in 2009 and has expanded to 10 over the past three seasons. Earlier this month, organisers released a partial 2013 schedule of five events beginning with the Thailand Open in March with other tournaments to be announced later in the year.
The 2012 OneAsia Order of Merit winner Kim Bi-o is one of a number of South Koreans who play events on the PGA Tour in America as well as on the fledgling tour. (Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Peter Rutherford)