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Volvo Championship to be staged in Bulgaria

Next season's Volvo World Match Play Championship will break new ground for the European Tour by being staged in Bulgaria.

After being held at Wentworth from 1964 to 2007, the tournament switched to Finca Cortesin in southern Spain three years ago and, with an expanded field of 24 players, has been won by Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts the past two years.

The Gary Player-designed Thracian Cliffs beside the Black Sea will become the new venue on May 16-19.

Per Ericsson, president of Volvo Event Management, said: "Volvo was the first company to bring a European Tour event to China and we are the first to take a full European Tour event to Bulgaria as Eastern Europe is an important business area for us.

"We are delighted to be working with the Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian Golf Association and are thrilled that they have committed their support to this prestigious and historic championship.

"We will announce future venues in due course and while our focus is firmly on delivering a magnificent 2013 championship as our inaugural event at Thracian Cliffs, we then plan to rotate the Volvo World Match Play Championship between a few very special venues around the world."

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov commented: "This is a real coup for Bulgaria being chosen to host such a prestigious international tournament with a rich heritage and sporting traditions.

"The vast media coverage will deliver a reputable boost for Bulgaria and our tourism industry. The recent growth of golf in our country will have the opportunity to be showcased around the world."

Colsaerts, whose victory in May helped to secure him a Ryder Cup debut, said: "This just demonstrates the global appeal of golf.

"I've never been to Bulgaria, but I've heard great things about the country and Thracian Cliffs and I can't wait to defend my title there in May next year. Having won both the 2011 Volvo China Open and the 2012 Volvo World Match Play Championship I think Volvo might be my lucky charm, so I hope that continues to be the case in 2013."