(22 September 2009) — The New Zealand Women’s Golf Open has received a major boost with the announcement that the 2010 event will be played near Christchurch at a new course with a new naming sponsor.

The Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open will be staged at the new Pegasus Golf Course near Christchurch, with naming sponsorship from the company developing the town.

After a successful inaugural Open this year, the new partnership between Pegasus and Christchurch City Council will result in the Open being elevated to full co-sanctioned status between the Ladies European Tour (LET) and the Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG).

The Pegasus New Zealand Women’s Open, which will carry a prize purse of approx NZ$415,000, will be held on 25-28 February. It will form part of a three-tournament swing for the LET including the Australian Women’s Open and the ANZ Ladies Masters in Queensland.

New Zealand Golf believes the announcement is the most important step for the development of women’s golf in the country.

“We established the New Zealand Women’s Open last year in partnership with our tournament promoters Tuohy Associates as a catalyst to raise the profile of the game for women and provide aspirational opportunities for young New Zealand golfing talent,” said New Zealand Golf Acting CEO Dean Murphy.

“The continued support from Christchurch City Council and the outstanding new naming sponsorship from Pegasus has allowed us to take this event to another level.

“Not only will golf and sports fans be able to see some of the world’s best women golfers in action, this provides a clear pathway for our young players if they wish to develop into world-class professionals.”

The championship course, due to open in December, forms part of the new coastal town of Pegasus 25 km north of Christchurch, which will house up to 7000 residents.

Pegasus Town Managing Director Bob Robertson said that Pegasus Golf & Sports Club is extremely pleased to be able to host the New Zealand Women’s Open.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to stage the New Zealand Women’s Open as the first major tournament for our new course,” says Bob Robertson.

“We believe it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase Pegasus Golf Course to both a local and international audience.”

Bob Robertson said the course will offer a real challenge to the tournament’s top-level players, while also highlighting the fantastic North Canterbury environment.

“The course, which is currently receiving its finishing touches, offers one of the most memorable playing experiences in the country – not only due to the course’s many unique features, but also because it is surrounded by so many stunning views of the Peninsula, the foothills and the Southern Alps. Pegasus Golf Course is an ideal venue to introduce an international audience to all the attractions of the Canterbury region.”

In addition to 11 lakes and a number of wetland holes, surrounded by waterways and native grasses, the course also features unique ‘island’ tees.

While the tournament’s new venue is just outside the Christchurch City boundaries in Waimakariri District, the Council has continued with its support of the event.

“I am delighted that the Pegasus NZ Women’s Open is to be hosted by Christchurch in 2010,” said Christchurch City Mayor, Bob Parker. “It will be great to have the opportunity to watch top women golfers live in action. I am sure it will be a highly successful golfing event for Christchurch, not only by attracting some of the world’s top golfers to the city but also in helping to promote golf in Christchurch and New Zealand and showcasing our City to the rest of the country and the world.”

The Open will join the burgeoning global Ladies European Tour.

“The addition of the Pegasus New Zealand Ladies Open to the 2010 Ladies European Tour schedule is a huge step forward for elite women’s professional golf,” said Alexandra Armas, Executive Director of the Ladies European Tour. “This exciting new tournament will expose domestic based golfers to a high level competition featuring international players from across the continents. Everyone at the LET is thrilled to be visiting New Zealand for the first time.”

Warren Sevil, CEO, Australian Ladies Professional Golf, said that he is delighted to be strengthening the excellent relationship with the Ladies European Tour through the co-sanctioning of the tournament, as well as the long-term partnership with the event Promoter, Tuohy Associates.

“The New Zealand market is important to both tours and we welcome this key expansion for our brand.”

The course will be formally opened in December when the first of the international stars to play in the Open should be known.

For details: www.nzopengolf.co.nz.