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.