Australia to host ranking World Snooker Tour event

Australia is to stage a ranking tournament for the first time as World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn attempts to expand the game's reach.

The Australian Goldfields Open will take place in Bendigo between 18-24 July 2011, with a three-year deal signed to stage the event.

"Snooker is going global like never before," said Hearn.

"We also have new events in Thailand and Brazil within the next few months, plus many more in the pipeline."

Australia produced its first world champion when Neil Robertson claimed the crown in 2010 .

"This is a long-standing dream come true for me, as I am sure it is for many snooker players and fans in Australia," said Robertson.

"To have a world ranking event in my home state will be just unbelievable and I hope to get a lot of support."