Sydney, Australia: Australian golf is set to strengthen its ties with Asia with representatives from Asia s top players in the 2007 MFS Australian Open field. Five of the top 25 players from the Asian Tour Order of Merit, a further five of the top 25 players from the Japan Tour Order of Merit, and three of the top 15 players from the Korean Tour Order of Merit will have direct entry into the Open field. Paul McNamee, Executive Chairman of the Australian Opens, is excited that Australia is formally opening up to Asia. Our aim is to develop the Australian Open into a regionally significant event. Last year was the first step in building a base and repositioning the event. This year we are opening up to the Asian Tours and formally inviting them to be a part of our National Championship. It’s important that we have strong engagement with Asia if we are going to succeed in the long term, stated McNamee. Gerry Norquist, Senior Vice President of the Asian Tour, said he was excited to have Asian players represented in the field. “The Asian Tour is delighted to have five of our top players invited to play in the Australian Open this year. Our players are aware of this opportunity and are keen to participate in such a prestigious and recognised event.” “With the battle for our Order of Merit still up for grabs, all of our top players will be playing in our final events of the season. Surely, one of the rewards they will be fighting for will be the chance to travel to Australia to play an Open Championship with such rich history.” “The PGA Tour of Australasia has always produced world class talent and the best players on the Asian Tour will be a great addition to what I am sure will be a star-studded field in the Australian Open” McNamee said another advantage of embracing Asia is that it could eventually lead to Australian professional golfers playing closer to home more regularly. “There&aposs no doubt that if we can help make it more attractive to them, our players may choose to play more in Asia and be able to base themselves in Australia for most of the year. “That would be a tremendous bonus for the golfing community in Australia.” The 2007 MFS Australian Open will be held at The Australian Golf Club from December 13-16. Tickets are now available from Ticketmaster outlets, by calling 1300 136 122 or on-line at www.ticketmaster.com.au.