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Brown wins player-of-the-year honor

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He was leading money-winner on NGA Tour

By Josh Cook

Shelbyville’s Brandon Brown has been named the 2012 NGA Tour Player of the Year.

And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Brown, who is a 6-time winner on the National Golf Association’s Tour and was its leading money winner this past season ($115, 085), was watching golf when he learned he had won the award.

“When I got the text, I was sitting there watching the Ryder Cup,” he said. “I was thinking about the guys that played on the NGA Tour and now they’re on the Ryder Cup team. It’s great to have the Player of the Year award on my resume, and hopefully I can follow in their footsteps.”

Former NGA Player of the Year Zach Johnson went 3-0-0 for the U.S. Ryder Cup team last weekend in its loss to Europe, and 2009 NGA Rookie of the Year runner-up Keegan Bradley went 3-0-1.

The first way Brown would like to follow in the spikes of Johnson and Bradley is by playing on the PGA Tour. In addition to those two, two of the past three NGA Player of the Year winners (Ted Potter Jr. and Michael Thompson) will be playing on the PGA Tour in 2013.

Brown played in his first-ever PGA Tour event – thanks to an NGA Tour event exemption – this past summer, when he finished in 62nd-place at the Reno-Tahoe Open. He also played two events on the Web.com Tour (formerly the Nationwide Tour), finishing tied for 24th place at the Stadion Classic at UGA in early May.

In between he notched 10 top-four finishes on the NGA Tour in 14 events. He won the Mountain Lakes Classic presented by Mountain Lakes Convention & Visitors Bureau in late April and had four runner-up finishes (one was a tie).

Brown, an Eastern Kentucky alum, and former all-Ohio Valley Conference player, made the cut in every NGA event he played this season and only had one finish outside of the top 12.

That was an improvement from the 2011 season, when Brown won $150,864 and four events but also missed four cuts, as he finished second in the NGA Player of the Year voting.

“I was hoping to win the Player of the Year award last year. It was close, but it didn’t work out,” said Brown, who in 2011 also missed the final stage of PGA Tour Q-School by a single stroke. “I came back out here this year with the same goals. I didn’t win as many times as I did last year, but I played better this year. I was more consistent and around the lead more times this season. I’m actually a better player this year. Winning this award gives me a lot of confidence, and I can see that the hard work has paid off with what I’ve done over the last two years.”

By winning his tour’s top honor Brown joins a club that also includes Johnson, Chad Campbell and Lee Janzen. Other notable NGA alums are Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk and John Daly.

The NGA Pro Golf Tour, established in 1988, predates the Web.com Tour as the longest running developmental tour in golf. In 2012, the NGA became the “Official Partner of the 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open” and secured one PGA and six Web.com Tour event exemptions for its members, the most in developmental golf.