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 Golf
Thursday, October 06 2022
Ryan Fox wins Alfred Dunhill Links Championship for second DP World Tour win of season

Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox has claimed the biggest victory of his career by winning the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the Old Course at St Andrews this morning.

Fox said he was thinking of the late Shane Warne throughout the victory, who he played alongside several times at the event.

It is the Kiwi's third win on the DP World Tour and second this year, which should see him make another significant leap up the world rankings to 25th - which guarantees more opportunities at major events next year including his debut at the US Masters at Augusta.

Starting four shots behind overnight leader Richard Mansell, who had a four-over 76 today, Fox had a three-shot lead through 12 holes after six birdies and a bogey.

He shrugged off some late nerves to card a four-under 68 to finish on 15-under for a one-shot win. He bogeyed the 17th, the famous road hole, which opened the door for Alex Noren who needed to sink an eagle putt on the last to force pressure on Fox - but the long-range attempt just fell short.

Fox then two-putted for par for the win, for which he earns US$816,000 (NZ$1.46m).

It's been a tumultuous last few weeks for Fox. He withdrew from the lucrative BMW Championship with a knee injury before an airline lost his golf clubs en route to the French Open, which still haven't been recovered.

Fox played alongside Warne for the past five years at the tournament in Scotland, which features amateurs grouped with professionals and is played over three links courses - St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns - before the cut is made, with the final round at St Andrews.

The duo finished second in the pro-am team event section of the tournament last year.

The cricket legend died of a heart attack in March.

"It means a lot. To be honest, the only person I can think of at the moment is Warnie. He meant a lot to me in this event. [He was] a great mate and it's a terrible shame he's not here but I'm going to enjoy celebrating this one with the family," Fox said after the win.

"There was definitely some luck out there. I was pretty nervy the last three holes. I didn't hit very good shots, to be honest, down 16, 17 and 18 but he was definitely helping out. The putt on 15, the tee shot on 16 could have easily kept going and it stayed in. He was definitely out there with me today."

Fox opened the tournament with a 66 at St Andrews before shooting a two-over 74 at Carnoustie Golf Links, a course roughly 40km south. He moved into contention with a stunning third-round 65 at Kingsbarns Golf Links.

Fox beat a strong field, with Rory McIlroy finishing two shots back at 13-under while the likes of Tyrell Hatton (-11), Billy Horschel, Louis Oosthuizen (both -10) and Padraig Harrington (-9) were all in the mix.

Earlier this year Fox won the Ras al Khaimah Classic in the UAE while his other victory on the tour came at the Perth 6s event in 2019. He's also had three second placings and a third in what has easily been his best year as a professional.

This year he has amassed €2.49m (NZ$4.37m) in prize money.

He started the year in 213th and is projected to move to 25th when the latest rankings come out - with the world's top 50 getting invited to the Masters in April today's win guarantees a spot for Fox.

Fox also moves to third in the DP World Tour season rankings, behind McIlroy and US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick with six events to play before the season-ending Tour Championship in Dubai.

"I haven't had a chance to think about that yet, but I'm sure I'll get a few messages about that tonight. That would be unreal. Words can't describe anything at the moment, to be honest," he said.

Meanwhile, it's looking likely Fox will have another Kiwi on the DP World Tour next year with Daniel Hillier set to secure a fulltime spot.

Hillier finished fourth at the latest Challenger Tour event in France, backing up from a victory last week at the Swiss Challenge tournament, to move to seventh on the season rankings.

The top 20 players after the season-ending tour finale in Spain in November secure their main tour cards.

 

Posted by: AT 03:46 am   |  Permalink   |  Email