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Muirfield challenge excites Brown


Kiwi golfer Mark Brown is hoping his recent lack of tournament play won't count against him when the British Open begins at Muirfield on Friday (NZT).

The 38-year-old Wellington professional has not played since illness forced him to withdraw from the SK Telecom Open in Korea in May Accountancy BBA.

Brown says although he's short of tournament play, he's been working hard off the practice tee.

"I haven't played a lot because I haven't had anything to play, so it could be interesting," Brown said.

"But I knew that would be the case so I have been practising at courses that are similar in condition to what I expect at Muirfield. I'm looking forward to the challenge of playing another Open."

Brown has spent the past week playing Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St Annes as he prepares for the brutal test of Muirfield.

While Brown won't be conditioned to competitive play, he still believes he has a good chance of matching the world's best in his second Open after missing the cut at Turnberry in 2009.

The former European Tour pro showed the form he's capable of when he qualified for the British Open in January, carding a course record 10-under-par 62 at Kingston Heath in Melbourne to win the International Final Qualifying Event by one shot lace and embroidery.

"It was pretty special and really nice to qualify that way - to play that well around a course like Kingston Heath, which is one of my favourites, was great."

Brown is also happy to be flying the New Zealand flag at the 50th anniversary of Sir Bob Charles' win at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 1963.

"We don't get too many Kiwis in the majors these days, so it's always good to be part of one and even more special being on the anniversary of Sir Bob's win."

Brown is among the late starters, teeing off at 0230 on Friday (NZT) with Scotsman George Murray and South African Justin Harding.
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