EAST ANGLIAN OPEN: First round flyer Brown has to settle for fourth place

Stuart Brown.
Stuart Brown.
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Top city golfer Stuart Brown finished fourth in the big £7,000 East Anglian Open at The Rayleigh Club in Essex yesterday (September 21).

The Thorpe Wood professional fired a sizzling six-under-par 65 to set the pace in the first round on Wednesday but was unable to hang on to his place at the top of the leaderboard.

He finished yesterday’s 18 holes with a disappointing 73 for a 138 total and that was seven shots adrift of the winner, Lloyd Kennedy from Woolston Manor Golf Club. He had rounds of 67 and 64 to take the winner’s cheque for £1,400.

Runner-up on 135 was Ian Campbell (Cheshunt Park Golf Club) with Christopher Grant (Garon Park Golf) third on 137.

Brown, who picked up £260 for his efforts, was in superb form in the first round and picked up nine birdies.

And he was thrilled to learn that fourth place earned him a spot at next month’s Play-Offs – the finale event for the best PGA professionals in Great Britain and Ireland.

He finished second in the final 2017 standings for the PGA in England (East) region.

The former Lincolnshire Minor Counties cricketer ended up a place behind former European Tour professional Rob Coles (Maylands Golf and Country Club), who landed the Order of Merit for a second successive season.

Brown, Coles and Hertfordshire’s Glen Portelli will be the three East region representatives at the prestigious Play-Offs, which will be staged at Walton Heath in Surrey from October 30-November 1.

Brown (42) said: “The last four or five years I just feel like I’ve been fourth, fifth place every year so to finally make the top-three is great. Persistence has paid off.

“It’s the second time I’ve made the Play-Offs – the last time was 2011. I’m over the moon.”