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World Match Play returns to England for 50th anniversary

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LONDON (AP)

The World Match Play Championship is returning to England for its 50th anniversary this year.

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Organizers said on Wednesday it will be hosted Oct. 15-19 by the London Golf Club at Ash in the southeast county of Kent. Until 2009, the event had been played at Wentworth before moving to Spain, and then to Bulgaria in 2013.

Arnold Palmer won the inaugural championship, in 1964.

This year's event will feature a 16-man field with prize money of (euro) 2.25 million ($3 million). Competitors will be split into four groups of four, with the top two players from each group advancing to the knockout phase.

''It seems right though to celebrate the Championship's anniversary in England, where the tournament was held for so many years,'' said reigning champion Graeme McDowell. ''I'm very much looking forward to defending my title there in October.''

The field will also include Race to Dubai winner Henrik Stenson, who has already qualified and confirmed he will be playing.

''I really enjoy the match play format,'' said Stenson, the 2013 European golfer of the year.

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