Fox trots up world golf rankings’ ladder
By Paul Gueorgieff
Editor Golfer Pacific NZ
New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox was in sight of a world top 50 ranking after winning the World Super6 Championship in Perth.
Fox had a ranking of 85 prior to the tournament last month but victory saw him vault up the ladder to 66.
Reaching the top 50 opens some big doors.
“That’s where we all strive to be,’’ Ryan said after his win at the Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth.
“You get in the majors, the WGC (World Golf Championship). That was the goal at the start of the year and the goal should be a fair bit closer now.’’
The win was Fox’s first on the European Tour, which came at his 79th start.
It was also the first by a New Zealander on the European Tour since Danny Lee coincidentally won in the same state when he took out the Johnnie Walker Classic as an amateur in 2009.
Fox’s win helped ease the pain Fox suffered in last year’s Irish Open when beaten in a playoff by Russell Knox from Scotland.
Knox holed a putt of about 40-feet to tie Fox on the last of the regulation 72 holes and then holed another putt from virtually the same position to win the playoff.
The difference between first and second was about $500,000. Knox won 998,000 euros (about $NZ1.6 million) while Fox earned 665,00 euros (about $1.1 million).
Fox said the defeat in Ireland did not necessarily strengthen his resolve to win in Perth.
“Not really. But thankfully I didn’t have anyone hole any 40-footers on me,’’ he said.
“I always think it’s almost easier trying to win a golf tournament than it is trying to make a cut.
“If you’re near the top, you’re generally in pretty decent control of your game.
“In Ireland I did everything right – just had someone do something incredible on me. I knew if I was in that situation again, I would feel as comfortable as I could and I definitely felt comfortable out there most of the day.’’
The World Super6 tournament comprises three days of strokeplay with the top 24 going to the six-hole matchplay format on the fourth day.
Fox was amongst the top qualifiers which meant he gained a bye through to the final 16 of matchplay.
His first match was against Jazz Janewattanond from Thailand. They were all square after six holes and went to a knockout hole to find a winner.
The knockout hole used the 18th green from a specially made tee less than 90 metres out and Fox and Janewattanond played it three times before Fox prevailed.
Fox had his share luck. Janewattanond missed a three-footer for victory on the second knockout hole which was halved with bogeys.
“I thought I was well gone,’’ Fox said.
“I hit a terrible chip and a terrible putt. I thought I’m done here.
“You never wish your opponent anything bad but you need some luck and I managed to be on the receiving end of some there.’’
At their third attempt on the knockout hole Fox knocked his tee shot to about three foot to gain a birdie and victory.
In the quater-finals Fox beat Kristoffer Reitan from Norway one up and it was the same score when Fox beat Paul Dunne from Ireland in the semi-finals.
Fox’s opponent in the final was Adrian Otaegui from Spain. Once again there was a bit of luck for Fox as a wayward tee shot on the first hole ended up bouncing out of the trees into the middle of the fairway.
But after that it was plain sailing for Fox. The Aucklander won the first three holes and halved the fourth hole for a 3 and 2 victory.
First prize was nearly 163,000 euros or about $NZ267,000.
Fox jokingly feared he would not see much of money as he was due to be married three weeks later.
“I think it’s probably already being spent,’’ the 32-year-old said with a smile.
Fox, son of All Black legend Grant Fox, said the matchplay format was good for the game.
“Golf’s got 600-something strokeplay events a year and this is good, having a difference.’’
The tournament was a good result for two other New Zealand players. Ben Campbell from Wairarapa and Gareth Paddison from Wellington both made the quarter finals of matchplay. They both picked up more than 32,000 euros or about $NZ52,000.