Date: December 16, 2008

Brown captures Order of Merit

New Zealander Mark Brown added an exclamation point to his watershed professional year by claiming the Australasian Order of Merit crown. The world No.107 started 2008 in style with victory at the prestigious Johnnie Walker Classic in Delhi and followed it up at the end of the year with solid finishes at the Australian Open and PGA Championship to top the Order of Merit on $A440,000. Brown was comfortably clear of Australian Masters winner Rod Pampling, on $368,000, and PGA victor Geoff Ogilvy on $316,000. The 33-year-old also held top spot on the Asian Tour money list for most of the year, thanks to his Johnnie Walker triumph and also by claiming the SAIL Open. However, a blistering finish by Jeev Milkha Singh has guaranteed the Indian star top spot with only the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia remaining. Nonetheless, Brown&aposs stellar season is one to remember and a particularly pleasing one for a player who struggled to make any headway after turning professional in 1996. He spent six years playing on the Asian, Canadian and Australasian Tours for little gain and walked away from the game altogether in 2003. Five years later, he is a force to be reckoned with on the world stage which was confirmed in his debut major – the 2008 USPGA Championship – where he tied for 24th. As part of his Order of Merit victory, he will also line up at next year&aposs British Open at Turnberry – making up for the 2008 Open where he was first alternative, missed out on the field and suffered the anguish of watching Scotsman Sandy Lyle pull out for no meaningful reason after only nine holes. Brown, along with world No.55 Pampling, will also qualify for the US Open if they are inside the top-75 before the tournament begins. Ogilvy, the world&aposs No.11 ranked player and winner of the 2006 US Open, has already qualified for all four majors.