Ryan Fox has finished tied fourth at the Irish Open overnight to qualify for The Open Championship in two weeks time.
The Beachlands local joins Michael Hendry in qualifying for the year’s third major championship to make it two Kiwis in the field at Royal Birkdale.
The third ranked Kiwi carded a final round four-under 68 to finish on 17-under for the tournament, seven shots behind dominant winner, Jon Rahm of Spain who recorded an impressive four eagles throughout the week.
There were three qualifying spots available and with Rahm already locked in for the 146th Open Championship, Fox secured one of the three places after missing out by one shot on two different occasions.
Fox, the son of All Blacks great and current All Blacks selector Grant Fox, told the Times of his elation finally nailing his Open Championship spot.
“Obviously it’s been a great two weeks…secured a tour card for next year and having just missed out on an Open spot last week it was nice to get some redemption this week,” he said.
“Can’t wait to get to Royal Birkdale in a week or so.”
In a press release, Fox said he was ecstatic.
“Third time lucky, I just missed out last week in France, and I missed out on world rankings at the Australian Open at the start of The Open Qualifying Series so I’m very, very happy to get the job done this week,” said Fox.
“It was a great golf course this week and a lot of fun to play. I’m sure Birkdale might play a bit tougher than what we’ve got this week. I haven’t played a lot of links golf in my career, I managed to play an Open at St Andrews a couple of years ago and I loved the experience of playing links golf. I’m looking forward to the opportunity again.”
With rounds of 67, 66,70 and 68, Fox earnt $425,774 NZD this weekend to make for an exceptional two weeks on tour after his top five finish last week to pocket $812,454 NZD in just two weeks.
Not only does the last two events significantly help Fox’s bank balance, the 30-year-old more importantly continues to climb up the Race to Dubai standings to now sit comfortably inside the top 100 to be in 28th place and ever closer to securing his European Tour card for another season.
The exciting Rolex Series continues for Fox with the Scottish Open proving to be the perfect warm up event for the Claret Jug next week. However, players won’t be treating it as a warm up with there once again being a mammoth $7,000,000 USD on the line.
Danny Lee has finished in a tie for ninth at the Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour but sadly couldn’t join Fox to claim one of four qualifying spots for The Open.
Lee, who was the defending champion at the Greenbrier Classic recorded rounds of 64, 68, 70 and 69 to finish six shots behind leader Sebastian Munoz.
Lee has returned to similar form which saw him inside top 50 in the world rankings last year with his recent nine finishes reading T14, cut, T5, 6, T49, T47, T3, T22 and T9.
The Rotorua professional has one final chance to qualify for The Open at next week’s John Deere Classic.
Our top three ranked male golfers have all enjoyed a solid week on their respective tours with the already qualified Michael Hendry finishing in a tie for sixth on the Japan Tour.
Hendry is starting to find form at the right time as he looks to impress in his debut Major Championship at The Open alongside good friend Fox in two weeks.