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Asian Tour sanctions irk Aussie players

AUSTRALASIAN PGA Tour commissioner Ben Sellenger plans to take up the cases of four Australian players who were fined and suspended from the Asian Tour for playing in the first tournament of the rival OneAsia series.

Ashley Hall, Chris Gaunt, Brad Kennedy and Jason King were this week fined US$5,000 and suspended from the Asian Tour for the remainder of 2009 after playing in the China Open earlier this month.

Asian Tour players, except those who qualified via the European Tour or Chinese tour, which co-sanctioned the China Open, boycotted the event.

Asian Tour chief executive Kyi Hla Han said all players knew the possible ramifications before entering the China Open.

Sellenger, whose Australasian PGA created the OneAsia concept along with the Korean and Chinese golf organizations despite opposition from the existing Asian Tour, said the bans were discriminatory and he'd take the matter up with the Asian Tour.

"The Volvo China Open is a US$2.2 million event, a significant opportunity that they actually qualify for through their performances on the Australasian Tour," Sellenger said.


"Ultimately you had somebody like Ashley Hall who fortunately performed very well, had a great week and finished third, and why shouldn't he be able to reap the rewards of that opportunity without facing certain penalties."

Sellenger said players on conditional Asian Tour cards who qualified for the China Open via the European or Chinese Tours were not sanctioned and wanted to know why the Australians were treated differently.

"The unfortunate circumstance in all of this is that while the Asian Tour has banned certain players, in other circumstances they granted releases," he said.

The players have seven days to appeal and no appeals had been lodged till yesterday.

The Asian Tour said that all players were made aware of the guidelines before the China Open started, which was the first of six tournaments planned for the OneAsia tour this year. The second, the Beijing Open, has already been canceled. Other events are planned for China, South Korea and Australia.


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