Hopes for bigger prizes at next Legends

John Evans.
John Evans.
Dunedin's top-paying golf tournament may be back even richer in 2020.

The FMG New Zealand Legends Masters, hosted at Chisholm Links, could have a prize pool in the vicinity of $150,000, tournament director John Evans said.

This year's tournament - the first time it had been held - had a purse of $35,000.

It had not been an NZPGA-sanctioned tournament, although that had been sought for next year. However, a disagreement about sanctioning fees led to the tournament - and its 15 rural qualifying events - being cancelled for 2019.

Its new target date was February 2020, when it will be held as part of the Asian Legends Tour.

That tour was not affiliated with the NZPGA, which had benefits in who could play.

''We've got a group of 1500 wealthy Chinese and we want 100 of them to come down and play,'' Mr Evans said.

''If it was PGA sanctioned, they couldn't come. The PGA has lost an opportunity in what has become a bigger opportunity for Dunedin.

''We're going to get probably 150 to 200 people coming into Dunedin for those five days. I've already negotiated some hotel deals. Some of them are full-up already.

''They'll be spending plenty of money in Dunedin.''

The tournament would again be the culmination of up to 15 qualifying tournaments held at rural courses around the South. Those were used to attract sponsors, which helped fund the Dunedin tournament.

Last year, it attracted many big names, who have to be 50 and over, including Peter Fowler, Mike Harwood and Greg Turner, and who were keen to return.

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