New Zealander Ryan Fox will this week have his second chance at Major success when he tees it up in 146th Open at Royal Birkdale.
Earning his position via a tied fourth finish at the DDF Irish Open, this will be the second time Fox has played in The Open and also makes him the second New Zealander in the field after Michael Hendry qualified earlier in the year via the Japan Golf Tour.
Fox made his debut in 2015 at St Andrews but returns for his second tilt a more experienced player. Since then he has won twice on the Challenge Tour and earned full status on the European Tour.
“I’m very excited. I had an amazing time at St Andrews a couple of years ago and I’m really looking forward to heading to Birkdale,” said Fox, who has recorded four top-10 finishes since the Australian PGA Championship at the start of the season, including one this week at the AAM Scottish Open.
“I had been close a couple of times in The Open Qualifying Series this season and it was a nice bonus to qualify last week.
“I feel a lot more experienced this time. I have played in a lot more big events with the top players than two years ago so I’m less overawed and intimidated now.
“It’s also nice to understand how the whole process works this time, hopefully I’ll have a few less nerves and a more stress free experience this time.”
Next week will be the first time Fox sees the Royal Birkdale layout, but he is happy with his links play heading into the tournament.
“I’ve had great few weeks so I am taking some confidence from that. It’s been nice to play some links golf leading up to The Open too.
“I haven’t seen Birkdale at all before so I will head down and play the course on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It will be my fifth week in a row and ninth out of 11. So I will have to manage the practice rounds a little bit to still be fresh on Thursday.”
As the lone New Zealander competing on the European Tour, Fox is also looking forward to catching up with Michael Hendry.
Swelling the Kiwi numbers at The Open, Steve Williams will also be there caddying for Adam Scott.
“It was great to see Mike qualify in Japan a couple of months ago and I’m sure he’s excited to play in his first Major,” added Fox.
“I’m sure we will play a little bit of golf together in practice. There’s only a couple of Kiwis out on tour (two caddies, my girlfriend and I) so it will be nice to have another Kiwi and friend around for the week.”
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