Mark Brown makes British Open in record style
Thursday 31 Jan 2013 6:20 a.m.
Kiwi golfer Mark Brown (Photosport file)
New Zealander Mark Brown describes breaking the course record at one of Australia's premier golf clubs on the way to qualifying for the British Open as a "massive" personal achievement.
The 37-year-old from Lower Hutt carded a second-round 10-under 62 on Wednesday, eclipsing by two shots the previous best score at Kingston Heath in Melbourne and finishing on top of the leader board.
The old mark was held by Britain's Ian Poulter, whose 64 came in the third round of the Australian Masters last November.
At the same tournament, Brown finished in a tie for third with compatriot Gareth Paddison, with Australian Adam Scott taking the title ahead of Poulter.
"Massive - I love this place," he said of his record score.
"I played well here in November and I've got so much respect for the place. It's quite a thrill to hold the course record."
The first three in the 68-strong field at the 36-hole International Final Qualifying event gained entry to the Open, which is at Muirfield in July.
Brown started the second day at even par, five shots off the pace.
He finished with a 10-under total of 134, one shot ahead of Queenslander Steven Jeffress, with West Australian Stephen Dartnall a further stroke back in third.
Brown said he began the final round in relaxed mode until he found himself in contention to qualify.
"After yesterday I was a fair way back, so today I really wasn't thinking about it too much and just went out and tried to enjoy it," he said.
"I made a lot of birdies and, when I was six under after nine, it started to get serious. It wasn't so much fun any more."
Brown has made one previous appearance in the Open, missing the cut at Turnberry in 2009.
One year earlier, he came agonisingly close to getting a start at Royal Birkdale, reaching first reserve.
A former European Tour card holder, Brown is particularly excited about going to Muirfield, where he hasn't been before and which "looks like an awesome course".
Brown has played in one other major, the PGA Championship in 2008, finishing in a tie for 24th at Oakland Hills.
He had qualified for that tournament by winning the Johnnie Walker Classic in India that year.