ALMATY, July 25 (Reuters) - The Kazakhstan Open will debut on the European Tour next year, elevating the first professional golf tournament in the oil-rich Central Asian country to main-tour status after three seasons on the junior circuit.
"Next year the tournament will be co-sanctioned by the Challenge and European Tours," tournament director Konstantin Lifanov told Reuters on Wednesday.
"But staring from 2009, we will be part of the main European Tour with total prize money of over 2 million euros ($2.76 million)."
Held at the picturesque Nurtau golf course near the commercial capital Almaty, the Kazakhstan Open made its professional debut in 2005 as the richest event on the Challenge Tour with 250,000 euros in prize money, increasing each year.
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