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LPGA backs pioneering men's and women's Aussie golf tournament


Sydney (AFP)

The LPGA will co-sanction a pioneering tournament where men and women compete for equal prize money on the same course at the same time, Golf Australia said Wednesday.

The Vic Open, which aims to highlight the disparity in prize money between the tours, sees men and women play concurrently off alternating tees.

The event, to be held early February at the 13th Beach Golf Links south of Melbourne, will be jointly sanctioned by the European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia for the men's competition, and the LPGA and Australian Ladies Professional Golf for the women's.

"For a tournament that has become revered for its progressive thinking, we are excited to take it to the next level," Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said in a statement.

LPGA's chief tournament business officer Ricki Lasky hailed the tournament as groundbreaking and a "leader in sports equality".

Organisers are hopeful the involvement of the prestigious US-based LPGA will attract the world's top female players to the competition, which has a prize of Aus$1.5 million (US$1.08 million) for each of the men's and women's divisions.

This year's women's event was won by world no.6 Australian Minjee Lee.

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