Mark Brown may be New Zealand's most unassuming professional
Polite, well-spoken and without a huge profile, the Kiwi
produced a solid season throughout Australasia last year
after losing his European Tour at the end of 2011.
Losing his card marked the end of a four-year stretch where
Brown played admirably on the European Tour, including a
memorable hot streak in 2008 where he won the SAIL Open and
the co-sanctioned Johnnie Walker Classic in consecutive
His entry to the European Tour in 2008 was part of his second
coming as a professional golfer, and his third go at cracking
the big time is moving in the right direction.
He finished fifth on the Australian PGA Tour's order of merit
last year, and has already locked up a start at this year's
Open Championship at Muirfield in Scotland in July via a
qualifying tournament in Melbourne last month.
It hasn't created a heck of a lot of fanfare but you get the
impression that doesn't bother Brown, who continues to
quietly go about his work.
Brown will play the Australian PGA and OneAsia Tours this
year. The latter will give him a few starts in co-sanctioned
European Tour events, which could be his ticket back to the
One thing he didn't manage to produce last year was a maiden
victory at his national open after he gave up a three-stroke
lead heading in to the final round of the New Zealand Open in
A clearly dejected Brown walked off the 18th green at
Clearwater with frustration written all over his face after
his putting let him down as he watched Australian amateur
Jake Higginbottom keep his cool down the stretch on his way
to the crown.
Although he eventually signed for fourth place, Brown was
still unhappy with the finish.
"You try and move on, obviously," he said. "I've played two
or three more tournaments after that so it all moves on
pretty quick. But it was bitterly disappointing, I guess. I
probably played well enough to win it, I just didn't do it
and obviously didn't play my best in the last nine holes of
that tournament, which was disappointing. But we'll have
another chance at it, and I look forward to getting another
chance to win it."
Brown's next assignment on home soil will come in Queenstown
on Thursday when he lines up in the New Zealand PGA Pro-Am
Championship at The Hills.
"I said last year it was just a highlight for me to be
playing in tournaments here. Because when I was playing in
Europe for four and a half years I just never got a chance to
come back and play the Open and the PGA. So it'll be nice to
be playing. I've got some family coming down for the week so
it's always good to play in front of family and the New
"It's not a course that gives you a lot of chances. So
there's birdie holes and there's also holes that you can bite
you. So you've just got to treat them with a bit of respect
and try and take advantage of the holes that are there for
Brown finished second-equal at the New Zealand PGA tournament
last year, two strokes behind winner Michael Hendry, as it
was contested under its pro-am format for the first time.
Brown was in Melbourne during the weekend to play the
Victorian Open as a tune-up for the New Zealand PGA, having
spent the past few weeks ironing out a few technical issues
with coach Mal Tongue.
The Shandon Golf Club pro said although it was still months
away, he was looking forward to the prospect of having
another shot at the British Open after he missed the cut on
his first attempt in 2009.
"It's exciting. You play so many tournaments that sometimes
it's hard to get excited about particular tournaments, but
obviously it's my favourite golf tournament in the world. So
it's great to have another crack at it and I'll be looking
forward to playing well."
Brown will be hoping to get his form on the right track with
another strong performance in Queenstown this week.