Sunday, January 24, 2010

Brown beats Hall in NZ PGA Championship play-off

Australian Mitchell Brown won the New Zealand PGA Championship at Christchurch today after a final round of fluctuating fortunes.
Brown beat long-time leader and compatriot Ashley Hall in a sudden-death play-off.
New Zealander Grant Moorhead who finished third, one shot behind Brown and Hall, also led early on the inward half.
Mitchell Brown set the clubhouse target and then hoped the gusting wind would grow and make things difficult down the final stretch for Hall. His hopes came true.
Brown was playing ahead of Hall and managed to avoid most of the wind. Hall, on the other hand, had to battle with the worst of it and dropped a shot on the 18th to finish the round at seven under and set up the play-off.
Brown, who won the play-off after Hall misjudged a putt and bogeyed, said it was lucky he managed to get off the course before the worst of the weather hit.
"It was probably a good thing that those guys were two or three holes behind so they had to play the last four holes in the wind. We only played a hole in the rough stuff," said the 24-year-old Hall from Sydney.
"That was probably a good thing, if it hadn't of got windy they probably wouldn't have dropped shots."
"It's always a good thing when you're in the clubhouse and there's guys coming in because it's a lot easier to drop shots than it is to make them."
The win was Brown's first since becoming professional four years ago and was made even sweeter given he had to win it in a play-off against a good friend.
Brown said he is very familiar with Hall's playing style and knew he had an advantage going into the play-off on the difficult 18th hole at Clearwater.
"He's a good mate of mine, we travel together a lot and we were actually roommates for about two years on the Asian tour," he said.
"We play practice rounds together and everything so it was good, it was a bit of fun."
"Ash hits fades and I hit draws so the play-off hole was set-up perfectly for me with the right to left wind."
"I could hit it out to the right and let it come back while Ash had to hit against the wind so it was a bit of a harder tee shot for him."
Hall led the tournament from the second round and has dealt with the atrocious Christchurch conditions perfectly throughout.
The Victorian admitted his last round was a struggle however and felt he didn't really play well enough to deserve the title in the end.
"It was definitely a battle," he said. "Until the last three holes it was definitely a day for scoring and I thought that if I shot even par I'd have a chance anyway."
"I didn't play good enough today, I didn't hole any putts at all. I was probably hitting it just the same but I putted terribly today."
"I'll be disappointed for a little while but I'll take positives out of it. I have been playing badly lately so it definitely does a lot for the confidence."
Both Brown and Hall will be playing in the New Zealand Open at Hillbrook in Queenstown that begins on Thursday morning.
Par 288 (4x72)
281 Mitchell Brown (Aus) 68 73 72 68, Ashley Hall (Aus) 68 69 71 73 (Brown won sudden death play-off at first hole).
282 Grant Moorhead (NZ) 67 74 70 71.
283 Joe Affrunti (Us) 71 73 69 70, Stephen Allan (Aus) 72 69 71 71.
284 Scott Arnold (Aus) 73 71 72 68, Andrew Bonhomme 71 73 70 70, Adam Crawford (Aus) 71 76 70 67, Mahal Pearce (NZ) 71 74 69 70.
285 Anthony Doyole (NZ) 71 69 74 71, Michael Hendry (NZ) 71 74 71 68, Ewan Porter (Aus) 68 74 72 71, Grant Waite (NZ) 69 74 75 67.
286 Adam Blyth (Aus) 72 71 75 69, Michael Curtain (Aus) 66 77 71 72, Matthew Holten (NBZ) 67 76 72 71, Gareth Paddison (NZ) 70 71 70 75, Anthony Summers (Aus) 70 73 72 71.



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