MANILA, March 28 (PNA) – The Philippine Open, Asia’s oldest national championship, will make a welcome return onto the Asian Tour Schedule after a two-year lapse.

The International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), which is in the business of acquiring, developing and operating container ports and terminals worldwide, has provided a huge boost for the prestigious championship by title sponsoring the 95th edition last May 12 to 15 at its traditional home, the newly renovated Wack Wack Golf and Country Club’s East Course.

A total prize fund of US$ 300,000 will be on offer to Asia’s elite players at the ICTSI Philippine Open.

It was played as a domestic event in 2009 and 2010, won by Elmer Salvador and Artemio Murakami, respectively.

The last time the Philippine Open featured prominently on the Asian Tour Schedule was in 2008 when local star Angelo Que claimed a popular home victory at Wack Wack.

Enrique K. Razon, Jr., Chairman and President of ICTSI, said: “We are honoured to title sponsor the Philippine Open, which is the jewel in the crown for golf in the Philippines.

“As Asia’s oldest golf championship, we firmly believe the ICTSI Philippine Open deserves to be placed on a high pedestal and we look forward to working closely with the Asian Tour and National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP) to ensure a successful 95th edition in May.”

NGAP President Leandro R. Mendoza welcomed the Open’s return onto the Asian Tour, which will stage an expanded Schedule in 2011 with a record US$ 45 million in prize money to Asia’s talented cast who include the likes of Filipino stalwarts Que, Murakami, Antonio Lascuna, Juvic Pagunsan, Gerald Rosales and upcoming teen talent Miguel Tabuena.

“With the ICTSI Philippine Open featuring prominently on the Asian Tour Schedule, we are looking forward to welcoming the stars of the game from across the region to Wack Wack’s East Course,”said Mendoza.

“It will be a tremendous opportunity for our local heroes to compete in the Philippine Open as they will go head to head with the Asian Tour’s best players.

Through the Asian Tour sanction, it will also provide a direct route to stardom if one of our Filipino players triumphs as the champion will receive a two-year winner’s exemption on the Asian Tour.”

Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman, Asian Tour, expressed his appreciation to ICTSI and NGAP for actively initiating the return of the Philippine Open to the Asian Tour’s 2011 Schedule.

“The ICTSI Philippine Open is one of the most revered national championships in Asia due to its long and celebrated history. Over the years, we have witnessed many great champions emerging from the Philippine Open including Frankie Minoza and Angelo Que in recent times,” said Han.

“We are honoured that the championship will feature on the Asian Tour Schedule again and I would like to express our fullest appreciation to ICTSI for its outstanding support and the NGAP for working closely with us in promoting and developing the game at the highest level in Asia.”

After 24 months of extensive renovation works, the fabled East Course at Wack Wack Golf & Country Club was reopened in October 2010.

Newly reshaped but retaining the charm of the renowned indigenous Manila Grass, the layout offers a more demanding test for the competitors this year.

Wack Wack has played host to the Philippine Open on numerous occasions and its location within the central business district is ideal for fans to watch Asia’s finest challenging for the coveted title.

“Wack Wack is happy and proud to once again host the prestigious ICTSI Philippine Open. We thank ICTSI and the rest of our sponsors for supporting this event.” said Philip E. Juico, President, Wack Wack Golf & Country Club.

The co-sponsors of the ICTSI Philippine Open include San Miguel Corporation, Globe Telecom, Lexus and HSBC while Srixon, Ricoh, BlackBerry and Lancaster Hotel Manila will support the event as official suppliers.