Wellington golfer Mark Brown fired a course record at
Kingston Heath in Melbourne today to win a spot at the 2013
Brown went on a birdie blitz to shoot at 10 under par 62,
winning the qualifying event by one shot from Australian
Steven Jeffress and securing his place at golf's oldest
It is fitting Brown qualified in style as his appearance will
be 50 years after Sir Bob Charles' win of the Open
Championship in 1963 at Royal Lytham and St Annes.
"It would be a great thrill to follow [Sir Bob] and win the
British Open. I better get in some practise before then,"
Brown said. "I just wanted to go out and blaze away and have
fun. It started getting serious, though."
Brown's round included eight birdies and an eagle and was
spectacular from start to finish. The 37-year-old made four
birdies and an eagle on the front nine to make the turn in
six under par 30 and get himself firmly in contention for the
three qualifying spots.
He continued his momentum with birdies on 11, 12, 14 and 16
to get set the standard for the qualifying event and join
Jeffress and Australian Stephen Dartnall in earning places at
Muirfield in July.
"I have never been to Muirfield but it looks like an awesome
course," Brown said. "I played in Europe for a few years and
played in many great events. I have played a couple of
majors. It will be great but it is nothing out of the
ordinary for me. It will be great to play in another major."
In his previous majors, Brown placed tied for 24th at the
2008 US PGA Championship and missed the cut at the Open
Championship in 2009, a tournament for which he has long held
a special affinity.
"My earliest memory of the British Open goes back to when
[Nick] Faldo was winning majors in the early 90s. I remember
[Michael Campbell] almost won the Open at St Andrews in 1995.
We'd stay up all night watching it in New Zealand. They are
just great events and I am looking forward to playing this
Brown earned that right by beating the previous course record
of Western Australian amateur Cruze Strange by one stroke.
"I love this place," he said. "I played so well here in
November (at the Australian Masters). I have so much respect
for this place and it is quite a thrill to hold a course
record at a course like this. It would have to be ranked in
the top three courses in Australia so it's awesome."
It is Brown's best result since he finished in a share of
fourth place at the New Zealand Open at Clearwater in
December - but the result of this tournament is a touch more
"I hope this is a big deal back home. I hope that we get a
few more there as well. The way Cambo is playing at the
moment it would be great to see him get a start.
"There is not a Kiwi in every major so at least this British
Open there will be me in the field. I can't wait."