Nike Golf has become the title sponsor of the prestigious UK Amateur Matchplay Championship.

The tournament – now in its 18th year – is regarded as one of the most popular matchplay events for club golfers.

Indeed, more than 2100 pairs and 1300 individuals from 1500 golf clubs took part in 2012.

The Nike Golf Matchplay Championship – which is both an individual and betterball pairs competition – is open to all club members who have an official CONGU handicap.

The draw is made on a regional basis after entries close in mid-May. Four rounds of knockout matchplay take place between June and September, with the successful pairs and individuals going on to one of eight regional finals in October.

The top three or four from each venue will qualify for the Grand Final, staged at the Algarve’s Vale de Lobo Resort in January 2013.

“Nike Golf is thrilled to become the new title sponsor of the Matchplay Championship. Having been involved on a lesser scale over the past three years we have seen the competition grow substantially to become one of the most prestigious amateur events, attracting entries from thousands of ardent golfers in the UK,” said Angus Moir, Nike Golf’s EMEA general manager.

“Nike Golf is passionately dedicated to ushering in the future of this great sport by developing groundbreaking innovations that enable and inspire athletes to become better, and this partnership serves to reinforce our support for amateur golf.”

David Hughes, Managing Director of GMM Ltd, event managers, added: “This is a major coup for the competition. Nike Golf has been a great supporter of the Matchplay Championship over the past three years and we are very excited to attract such a high profile global brand as our new title sponsor.”