Kiwi Mark Brown Wins a Place in The Open

Mark Brown

Mark Brown / getty

Kiwi Mark Brown shot a course-record 62 on Wednesday to win the Australasian regional qualifying tournament for The Open at Muirfield in July this year.

Mark finished the two-round International Final Qualifying tournament at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath Golf Club at -10 under par, capturing one of three qualifying places available to the 72-strong field. Australian Steven Jeffress finished at -9 under par after a second round of 67 and compatriot Stephen Dartnall shot second round 69 to both finish at -8 under par and to claim the other two qualifying spots.

An Eagle and eight birdies in Mark’s round on Wednesday helped him to beat Ian Poulter’s course record of 64 set at the 2012 Australian Masters.

Mark said he knew early on that it was a serious round;

” Yesterday I was a fair way back, so today I wasn’t really thinking about it too much,  I just went out and tried to enjoy it. I made six birdies in the first nine, then it got serious and it wasn’t so much fun anymore,  but it’s massive. I love this place and I played well here in November. I’ve got so much respect for the place, it’s quite a thrill to hold the course record. If there’s one major you want to play for me, this would be it. I hope it’s a big thrill, it’s not every major New Zealand has someone playing. I hope we get another couple in, Cambo and maybe someone else through qualifiers.”

 Steven Jeffress  at 37 years of age will tee it up in his first Major championship thanks to a composed round, Steven said he was impressed with his achievement;

“It’s pretty impressive, it probably hasn’t even sunk in yet, it’s going to be great, it’s going to be unbelievable. I had a number that I wanted to get to, 10-under. I thought if I get to that then it’s going to be competitive. I had 2-under around the front nine and then I parred through to 15 which I was pretty frustrated at. I said to my caddy that we have to do something here because only the top-3 get in and then I birdied 15 and 16.”

Stephen Dartnell had two solid rounds, and is was good enough to get him qualified;

“I started off a bit scratchy actually, I was 1-over after six then made a few birdies and just played solid from there on in. It wasn’t quite as good as yesterday but it was enough, I guess. I have never played a major before so will be a good learning experience, to go there and obviously try and play well.”

The Australasian tournament is one of a series of regional events on five continents that give players a chance to qualify for The Open Championship at Muirfield from July 18 to 21.

Australian Masters, Mathew Guyatt the surprising leader after 1st Round



Golf Australia

Matthew Guyatt

Mathew Guyatt/ Getty Images

Mathew Guyatt is the surprising first round leader of the Australian Masters tournament at the conclusion of play on day one. Mathew, from Queensland,  upstaged his more fancied rivals to claim the outright lead by two shots from the big names chasing him down, by firing a superb -7 under par, 65. Another Aussie, Adam Scott , Ian Poulter from England and New Zealand’s Michael Hendry are the players who are just two shots in arrears of  the 57 year-old Mathew on the par 72 Kingston Heath Golf Club lay-out. Naturally t he score board is full of Australians, out of the top forty places there is only one Englishman, Poulter, Graeme McDowell from Northern Ireland, three Kiwi’s and a Frenchman, Victor Riu, to interrupt the flow of Aussie flags on the board.

Ian Poulter

Lone Englishman Ian Poulter/Getty Images

There are a whole host of players tied in fifth place at -4 under par, which includes the Aussie amateur Jake Higginbottom and Kalem Richardson who is in his first full year as a professional has rarely been near the top of the leaderboard before, but is hoping for better things to come. Kalem said of his start to this tournament;

“I set my goals pretty high and my goals are always towards the end of the week now, I know I can start tournaments well. Now it is all about putting four rounds together, I’m ahead of where I thought I would be sitting after the first round and I hope I keep playing well. I’ve played around here a fair few times, so that was really helpful. The front nine I was just hitting it really well and on the back nine I made some more putts, I’m feeling pretty good about my game.”

Kalem will have a tough task on his hands if he is to win here, with the likes of Adam Scott and the inform Ian Poulter keen to add another victory to their bulging CV”s.




Ian Poulter wins Australian Masters

Ian Poulter won the Australian Masters with a score of -15. he eagled the first hole for draw level with Geoff Ogilvy and never really looked back. Three shots back was the Aussie Marcus Fraser on -12. Ian had to battle some pretty fierce winds on the back nine, but managed to survive a hiccup on the 17th due in part to an errant tee shot into a bunker. He escaped the bunker to find the fairway and then managed to go through the green with his approach shot, leading to a bogie.

World number one Luke Donald showed some flashes of golf you would associate with that rank of player, but four bogies in five holes put paid to his charge up the leader board.

Poulter stalls as Ogilvy flys at JBWere Australian Masters

Ian Poulter stalls in the third round of the JBWere Australian Masters shooting -2 69 for a total score of -11, two shots adrift of the leader Geoff Ogilvy. Geoff fired in a course record -8  under the card 63, to finish with a total of -13, and was a very happy man at the end.

Ian on the other hand was concerned that he and his caddy could not figure out which way the wind was coming from, which was responsible for him firing a couple of approach shots through the green. Geoff with his local knowledge of the course did not seem to be affected at all, and shooting a brilliant course record. The last day is set up for an exciting finish as Ian and Geoff will be in the last group each vying for the coveted gold jacket, Ian stating that the said jacket would fit in well with some of the other items in his wardrobe.

Luke Donald still struggled with the course, finishing at a modest -5 for the tournament, eight shots adrift of leader Ogilvy, even a course record tomorrow would not help him to win, but I would still bet that he finishes in the top ten, something he has done all year. That is the consistency that has enabled him to remain world number one and to top the money charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ian Poulter of England shot a 65 to lead the first round in Melbourne of the Australian Masters. Ian had first seen the course on Wednesday, but it obviously suits his eye.

“The only mistake I made today was a three-putt from about 20 feet on my second hole. So that’s probably the only frustrating thing,” Poulter said. “I hit a lot of good golf shots.”

“It’s refreshing because a number of the courses we play week in week out it just seems like you are taking the driver headcover off on every single par 4 or par 5, and the odd par 3,” he said. “It’s nice to hit the odd iron off the tee. I enjoy that type of golf, putting it in play and giving yourself chances. I like the way this golf course sets up for me.”

Luke Donald, the world number one, is four shots off the pace but is not too unhappy with his opening round.

“Two birdies, no bogeys. It could have been a lot worse,” Donald said. “It could have been better. Something to build off.”

Lets hope that Luke stops admiring the layout of the McKenzie designed course and figures out how to play it.

Robert Allenby

Photo: Reuters

Ashley Hall gave Poulter a fright by getting to eight under after ten holes, Ian’s comment after checking the leaderboard,

“I saw eight under through 10,  You thought was he going to shoot 13 or 14!”

I am looking forward to tomorrows play, I expect Luke Donald to get up into the mix.