KARACHI: In what will be one of the richest sports events in the country's history, the CNS-Pakistan Golf Championship will take place at the Karachi Golf Club (KGC) in December as an Asian Tour contest, carrying a whopping prize purse of US$500,000.
A senior KGC official confirmed to The News on Friday that the tour has included the CNS-Pakistan Open in its calendar and the event will take place from December 1-4.
The CNS-Pakistan Open will mark the country's return to the Asian Tour for the first time since 2018 when the US$300,000 UMA-CNS Open was staged at the KGC.
Pakistan will once again figure on the Asian Tour map for the first time in four years with the biggest-ever prize basket in the country's history. At the current exchange rate, the prize money will be close to Rs100 million, making it the most lucrative sports event in Pakistan's history.
"It's great news that the CNS-Pakistan will be played at KGC in December with a prize purse of 500,000 dollars," said KGC's Chief Operating Officer Commodore Ghazanfar Abbas.
Considering an increased prize purse, it is expected that Asia's top-notch professionals will feature in the CNS-Pakistan Open.
According to Commodore Ghazanfar, it was on the instructions of Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi that efforts were made to put Pakistan back on the Asian Tour map.
Admiral Niazi, who is an avid golfer, announced at the prize distribution ceremony of last year's CNS Open that the 2022 edition of the tournament will be part of the Asian Tour.
According to the plan, the CNS-Pakistan Open will be part of a week-long golfing festival to be held from November 28 to December 4 that will also include a Pro-Am tournament preceding the main championship.
In 2018, Thailand's Tirawat Kaewsiribandit won the Asian Tour title at KGC.
Professionals from 18 nations featured in the four-day UMA-CNS Open championship and the field included at least five former Asian Tour winners. The players were from countries like India, Singapore, USA, Austria, Spain, Serbia, Australia, England, Argentina, South Africa and Venezuela.
It was in 1989 that Pakistan became part of the old Asian circuit. The event was held at KGC with Filipino star Frankie Minoza winning the title.
Before 2018, Pakistan hosted back-to-back Asian Tour events at KGC in 2006 and 2007. England’s Chris Rodgers won the 2006 event ahead of India’s Jeev Milkha Singh and Amandeep Johl. In 2007 Malaysia’s Airil Rizman claimed his maiden Asian Tour title with a two-stroke triumph over Scott Hend of Australia.
Pakistan has produced only one Asian Tour winner in the past following Taimur Hussain’s success at the 1998 Myanmar Open. In 2018, Islamabad's Muhammad Munir came close but had to contend with a third-place finish behind two Thai players.