Scott Hend – much improved last week at the Dutch Open and one of Australia’s most successful Asian Tour players

The Asian Tour will break new ground this week when it plays an event near Newcastle in England, the first event played in Britain by the Asian Tour and the response from its members has been phenomenal.

It is perhaps not hard to understand given the US$2 million purse exceeds by some margin the average purse on the Asian Tour, but the costs involved in getting to Newcastle are not insignificant and that players from 29 countries have entered the event at Slaley Hall  about 25 kilometres west of Newcastle tells the story of players hoping to take advantage of a unique opportunity.

It is also very much a one off event, with the previous Asian Tour event played in Japan two weeks ago and the next in Korea in three weeks time.

This week’s event is backed by Saudi money and is the second such event this season, the first having been played in Thailand in March for US$1.5 million.

In addition to the regular Australasian members of the Asian Tour currently entered, several more have a start courtesy of an invitation, those players including Louis Dobbelaar, Dimi Papdatos, West Australian Open winning amateur Hayden Hopewell, Tim Stewart, Andrew Martin and David Gleeson and New Zealand’s Denzel Ieremia

That group will be joined by Asian Tour members Wade Ormsby, Blake Windred, Scott Hend, Andrew Dodt, Todd Sinnott, Travis Smyth, New Zealander Ben Campbell, Jake Higginbottom,  Josh Younger, Daniel Fox, Will Heffernan, Scott Strange, Ben Eccles, Cory Crawford, Kevin Yuan and Sam Brazel.