Having watched his New Zealand Open lead slip through his
fingers during the final round, Mark Brown was left to ponder
an off-day on the greens at Clearwater today.
The Lower Hutt professional had 33 putts during his final
round as the three-stroke lead he held overnight evaporated
in front of his eyes.
Australian amateur Jake Higginbottom claimed the New Zealand
Open title with a one-stroke, ahead of compatriots Jason
Norris and Peter Wilson.
Brown's one-over 73 today saw him slip to fourth overall at
four-under, and the 37-year-old was visibly devastated after
he walked off the 18th green.
"I played well enough. I played beautifully for the first 10
holes. I didn't miss a shot, really, and only holed one
putt," Brown said.
"I had 33 putts for the day, so that's never going to win a
golf tournament and probably proves you can't win a golf
tournament with your long game. You're going to have to hole
a few putts and today that didn't happen. It was frustrating
because it seems to be happening quite a bit lately."
After having only 28 putts in his third round, when he fired
a six-under 66, Brown was disappointed to see his putting
desert him when it mattered most.
"I just couldn't start them on line so there's probably a
technical issue there and I gave myself a lot of chances. I
think I had 30 greens for the last 36 holes - so a lot of
chances - but when you don't take them you won't win on a
Brown, who has played throughout Asia and Australia this year
after losing his European Tour card, said he hoped for more
as he attempted to become the first Kiwi to win the Open
since Mahal Pearce triumphed in 2003.
"[It's] just frustrating. It's probably been a career thing
for me so I've just got to get better if I want to reach the
goals that I want to reach. But I'll go away and work hard
and try to get better."
Wind was one of the defining factors in Christchurch this
week but the breeze died down as the day wore on today, which
appeared to work against Brown.
"I don't think it was good for me. I was hoping it was going
to blow and it calmed right down and became pretty much
target golf so it probably didn't [help], but that's the way
it goes sometimes."
Brown is one of the leading money-winners on the Australasian
PGA Tour in 2012 and will likely tee it up at the Australian
Open in Sydney in two weeks.