Brown targets Hero Honda Indian Open to ease Merit pressure

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New Delhi, Oct4 (UNI) New Zealander Mark Brown, currently leading the race to be Asia's number one, will tee it up at the Hero Honda India Open Golf in the same mind set as last year but with a far loftier goal in mind.

Twelve months ago, Brown was looking to make enough cash to keep his card while now he is aiming to cement his place at the top of the Asian Tour's Order of Merit.

Brown finished a creditable joint fifth in the event last year at the Delhi Golf Club - a prelude to the stunning displays earlier this year that saw him win the SAIL Open and Johnnie Walker Classic back-to-back.

Those successes in India represented a huge reversal of fortune for the 33-year-old Kiwi.

He came out with all guns blazing for the 2008 season and his two victories in February put him in pole position in the race to be number one in Asia.

After a spell playing in Europe, Brown resumed his Asian odyssey at the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open in late September and a fifth place finish saw him extend his Order of Merit lead over second-placed Jeev Milkha Singh of India to USD 184,903.

But Brown knows that the USD one million record prize money at the Hero Honda Indian Open will play an important part in his bid for top spot, especially as he missed the cut at this weekends Korean Open.

''Last year I was trying to keep my card and now I'm trying to win the Order of Merit,'' said Brown. ''Anything can happen. Anyone behind me can win the Order of Merit. I would love to win it, though.'' ''Clearly I enjoy playing in India particularly at Delhi Golf Club. It is a really good course,'' he added.

Brown is preparing himself for a testing run of events as he chases his dream.

''It's going to be a busy time as after the Volvo Masters in Valderrama at the end of October, I'll play in Shanghai and then play six or seven events in a row,'' he said.

''Hopefully, I'll be in front by the time of the Volvo Masters of Asia in December. Arjun Atwal and Jeev Milkha Singh will play their minimum (number of events) and SSP Chowrasia is also quite close.

After the Hong Kong Open, we'll get a clearer picture (of the Order of Merit race).'' UNI HSB AB PM2005

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