The winner of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC) hosted by Royal Wellington Golf Club from 26-29 October will now take their place in golf's most international major championship when they receive an exemption into The 147th Open at Carnoustie.

The victor will become the first champion in the history of the AAC to receive the exemption to play in The Open in 2018 making the event in New Zealand all the more special. The regions flagship amateur championship also offers the winner an invitation to the Masters Tournament which makes for the best prize in amateur golf.

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 worlds most talented amateur golfers the opportunity to qualify for The Open.

Royal Wellington Golf Club and New Zealand Golf were driven to bring the prestigious global tournament to this country and a start in The Open is a huge addition and has instantly elevated the event to even greater heights.

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New Zealand Golf CEO Dean Murphy was delighted to hear the news that will give the tournament a tremendous boost.

"This is wonderful news and Im sure all young New Zealand amateur players are today feeling inspired and motivated," said Murphy.

"The Open is a truly iconic sporting event contested through history by the games greatest players so it is a great honour that the Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion will now take their place in this field in addition to the field at the Masters. This demonstrates the real significance of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship and the opportunities on offer for the players who will compete at Royal Wellington later this year."

Tournament hosts, Royal Wellington Golf Club, are delighted with the news and what lies ahead in October.

"Royal Wellington Golf Club warmly welcomes the announcement that the winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, scheduled to be held at Heretaunga this year, will now gain direct entry into 2018 The Open Championship," said Andrew Harcourt, Club Captain of Royal Wellington.

"This is very exciting news, and reflects the status of this new golf tournament as one of the premier men's amateur events in the world."

Mr Harcourt also mentioned that preparations for this year's event are proceeding well, and a further planning visit by a team from The Masters is to take place next month.

"The members and staff of Royal Wellington, and New Zealand Golf, very much look forward to welcoming the participants, organisers, and sponsors of this event to Wellington later this year, and are certain this news will lift interest in the event. It is great news for supporters of amateur golf everywhere".

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 regions 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.

Dominic Wall, Director - Asia-Pacific at The R&A, added, "The R&A is committed to developing and enhancing the status of amateur golf throughout Asia-Pacific. The exemption for the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship will provide a fantastic opportunity for talented amateur golfers from this part of the world to qualify for The Open."

The 2017 AAC will take place at Royal Wellington Golf Club here in New Zealand from 26 - 29 October and will be broadcast to over 150 countries worldwide showcasing our proud golfing country.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Golf NZ