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Government funding boosts NZ PGA Champs prize money

Published: 12:43PM Thursday October 11, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

  • The Hills" Golf Course, Arrowtown  (Source: supplied by Jan Eyles)
    The Hills" Golf Course, Arrowtown - Source: supplied by Jan Eyles

A cash boost from the government has seen the prize money increase by 20 percent for the 2013 NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship at the Hills in Queenstown.

Prime Minister John Key today announced an investment of $650,000 for the tournament to come out of the Major Events Developments Fund.

It is hoped the increase in prize money from $500,000 to $600,000 and moving the event to February will help attract a stronger international field than the inaugural tournament last April.

"We are delighted with the support we have received from our major partners in this event," Chairman of the NZ PGA Championship organising committee John Hart said at a media launch today.

"We are excited about the potential this tournament has to become a significant annual event on the New Zealand sporting calendar.

"The unique format of the tournament, which involves amateurs and celebrities playing alongside leading Professionals in an iconic setting, provides an excellent opportunity for Government to achieve its aims of promoting Queenstown and New Zealand as world class tourist destinations."

Tournament organisers also confirmed defending champion Kiwi Michael Hendry and top Australian golfer Brendan Jones (a two time winner on the prestigious Japan Golf Tour this year) to play in the 2013 event.

The February 28-March 3 tournament also coincides with the England cricket team's four day match against a New Zealand XI in Queenstown which has allowed organisers to secure former England captains Sir Ian Botham and Tony Greig for the Pro-Am.

The flamboyant Sir Ian, known for his clean hitting on the cricket pitch, was thrilled to be involved in the tournament.

"Having played regularly in the Dunhill Tournament at St Andrews, including only last week, I am absolutely delighted to have been invited to play in the New Zealand equivalent at The Hills in Queenstown next year," he said.

"I look forward to once again returning to Queenstown, taking in the sights, sampling the fantastic local wines and food, playing golf in the NZ PGA Championship and supporting my beloved England cricket team. This is something I could not miss."

Further celebrities and professional golfers will be announced over the coming months.

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