CHARLES TOUR: CARRUS OPEN: BROWN JOINS 59 CLUB IN TAURANGA

26/09/2014

Mark Brown had an epiphany last night about his putting.

 


“I woke up in the middle of the night and was thinking about a grip adjustment that I wanted to make with my putting stroke and it felt really good out there,” he said. “I putted magnificently.”  

 

The Wellington professional made history today as he shot golf’s magic number at the Tauranga Golf Club in a performance for the ages.

The 39-year-old carded an incredible nine-under par 26 on his back nine (the front nine at Tauranga) which is believed to be a world record for nine holes in a professional event.

Brown signed for an 11-under par 59 and matched the official course record held by Auckland professional Richard Lee.

The former European Tour pro, who opened with a two-under par 68, climbed to a 13-under par at the halfway stage of the $40,000 Carrus Open on the Charles Tour to earn a three shot lead from Fiji professional Vikrant Chandra (66).

Lee (68) and Tasman amateur Ryan Chisnall (65) are in a share of third place but the talk of the clubhouse was the performance of Brown.

The Shandon golfer was high-fived and congratulated all the way back to the clubhouse as the 50 spectators who watched his round knew that they witnessed something truly remarkable.

The renowned ball striker played his final 10 holes in a world-class 10-under par.

“It is an awesome feeling,” said Brown. “I was saying yesterday how many days with golf you have when you walk off the course frustrated or that you have left a few out there. So to have the feeling where you have scored as well as you possibly can on every hole is a unique feeling and an amazing feeling. Especially to do it around here where I have a lot of friends, it is really special.”

The New Zealand Open runner-up made the turn in one-under par before going on a phenomenal run where he made seven birdies and an eagle to complete the best nine holes of his life.

Brown hit his approaches to within 12 feet on his first four holes of his back nine and then to 20 feet on the fifth and made all the birdie putts in nonchalant fashion.

He made an eagle from 30 feet on the fringe of the par 5 6th and then delivered probably what was the shot of the day – a delicate bunker shot from a tricky lie on 7 to within six inches of the hole.

The two-time Charles Tour champion made a 20 foot putt on the par four 8th to continue his momentum and then made a solid par on the 9th to set up his chance at history.

“It would be hard to beat nine holes like that in pro golf. The guys are telling me it hasn’t been done before.”

Brown’s nine hole score beat the effort of the best nine holes recorded on the PGA Tour - Corey Pavin had an eight-under par 26 on the front nine of the first round of the 2006 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.

His playing partners Luke Toomey and Daniel Pearce were lost for words.

“It was pretty damn impressive,” said Pearce. “Luke and I enjoyed watching that a lot. It was something that I have never seen before. It was some of the best golf that I have ever witnessed. That 10 hole stretch was flawless. His control was the most impressive thing. He never really looked flustered or out of place he was just going about his business and it seemed easy.”

Toomey added: “I have shot 65 today and I was completely blown away by his round. It was incredible and a pleasure to watch that. He is a world class player and he showed that today.”

Brown was happy to become only the second Kiwi to shoot a 59 in competitive golf.

“I had to match R.Lee’s record today. I couldn’t let him get away with it. So I am glad that we share that one together.”

The adopted local was also happy to share the moment with his girlfriend Mikayla Bell, a local golf professional, who caddied for him today and played a big part in his success.

“Mikayla really helped me today. We were walking up the last and I said to her we have got every club right and every read right today that is half the battle. Sometimes executing is the easy part but we teamed up really well, we picked good clubs and we

picked good lines, everything was bang on.”

In a decisive moment, Brown elected to take four iron off the 10th tee, his final hole, rather than hitting driver to the short par four because of the danger of the rough right of the green.

He felt the best option was to lay up and hit a sand iron in close and his approach was around 10 feet from the hole.

“I didn’t hit a great pitch but I was pretty happy with the putt. I had a feeling it was always going in.”

Brown is no stranger to shooting low numbers. He famously carded a 10-under par 62 at Kingston Heath last year in final qualifying for the Open Championship. But to post a number in the 50s was something else.

“I have had a couple of good rounds in my time but it is nice to have the magical number on my CV. It is obviously not the PGA Tour but it still a massive achievement. It is more of a mental achievement to keep pushing under that pressure. I am pleased I took my chance.”

Brown’s record breaking round was even more impressive considering he has hardly played and has been nursing a sore back in the lead-up to this event.

He said this round will give him a huge amount of confidence as he looks to get back on the European Tour at the end of the year.

“You feel the same nerves teeing off in a Charles Tour event as you do playing anywhere in the world, well I do anyway, you feel like you are in tournament mode and that it matters. This gives me huge belief.”

 

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