The international prestige of the Asian Amateur Championship continues to surge with news that the winner of the title will gain a direct place into The Open Championship.
The AAC victor already claims a spot in The Masters field while the winner and runner-up have direct entry into Final Qualifying for The Open.
Now, the player who holds aloft the trophy in Wellington, New Zealand, in October will line up alongside golf’s elite next year at the 147th Open at Carnoustie.
The winner will become the first champion in the history of the AAC to receive the exemption to play in The Open in 2018.
The AAC now becomes one of four elite amateur events, alongside The Amateur Championship, the European Amateur Championship and the US Amateur Championship, to offer the world’s most talented amateur golfers the opportunity to qualify for The Open.
“We are delighted to offer a place in The Open for the winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and look forward to welcoming this year’s champion to Carnoustie in 2018,” said Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director, Championships, at The R&A.
“The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events which is contested by the game’s greatest players. There is a strong tradition of amateurs competing in The Open and this new exemption for the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship offers a major added incentive for the leading amateurs throughout that region.”
Since 2009, the AAC has been conducted in partnership between the Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation (APGC), the Masters Tournament and The R&A.
Initially inaugurated to grow and develop golf in the Asia-Pacific region, the championship has now evolved to feature 120 of the region’s leading amateur golfers, according to the World Amateur Golf Ranking, from 40 APGC affiliated organisations each year.
Notable winners of the AAC include 2010 and 2011 champion Hideki Matsuyama, who has since won three times on the PGA Tour including the 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions tournament, and current champion Curtis Luck, who also won the US Amateur and the Western Australian Open in 2016.
The 2017 AAC will take place at Royal Wellington Golf Club in New Zealand from October 26-29. The 147th Open will be played at Carnoustie in July, 2018.
The Open is golf’s oldest championship. Played since 1860 on iconic links golf courses, it is the sport’s most international major championship with qualifying events on every continent. For one week each year, the pursuit of the famous Claret Jug trophy is the focus of the sporting world, followed globally by millions of fans.
Organised by The R&A, The Open delivers an annual economic benefit of almost $US125 million to its host region, while the Championship’s commercial success supports the development of the sport worldwide.