Ryan Fox is in the mix after a first-round 67 at the Victorian Open. That alone is somewhat surprising: Since winning the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth a year ago, Fox has failed to post a top-10 finish, tumbling from 66th in the world rankings to 156th.
But Fox's 67 is particularly astonishing given he didn't play at practice round at Thursday's venue, 13th Beach Club's Creek course ... and that he made the trek without his caddie.
Fox's regular loop went down on Thursday before the tournament began, overcome with an illness. So Fox's wife Anneke served as a last-minute replacement, hauling Fox's bag around the Geelong property.
The pairing clearly worked. The New Zealander carded an eagle and five birdies (along with two bogeys) to fire a five-under score.
"I hit a lot of good shots today. I probably left a couple out there but you're never going to complain too much with five under as a start," Fox said. ""The golf courses are tricky enough. It was tough to hole some putts. I've been struggling with that anyway."
As for why he didn't play at the Creek, Fox instead focused his time at the Beach course, which is where the rest of the competition will be played on this weekend.
"I've played here ever since the inception of this event so I've played both courses a lot," he said. "I actually didn't even bother looking at the Creek Course this week until today so I guess not seeing it this week and going out and shooting five under, I'm pretty happy."
Stunningly, no one asked Fox how his new caddie performed. Figures; wives and loopers, the two most unappreciated professions this world knows.