Mexico Open at Vidanta

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Ryan Fox gives himself an early wedding present by claiming his first European Tour title

February 17, 2019

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It didn’t come easy for Ryan Fox, despite the 3-and-2 score in the final match over Spain’s Adrian Otaegui at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth. The 32-year-old New Zealander maneuvered his way through the chaotic—but entertaining—final day of the unique event, needing 25 holes and some good fortune to advance through four matches before claiming his maiden European Tour title.

The unique nature of the tournament where 24 players qualify for match play after 54 holes of stroke play at Australia’s Lake Karrinyup Country Club, then play a series of six-hole matches to determine the winner, makes for plenty of anxious moments.

Fox reached match play after posting an eight-under 208 in stroke play, earning a bye into the final 16. But with Jazz Janewattananond facing a three-footer to close out their opening match, Fox figured his run would be short lived. Somehow, the putt failed to drop, and Fox holed his from a similar distance on the next hole to survive a third playoff hole and move on.

From there, Fox hung on for 1-up victories over Kristoffer Reitan in the quarterfinals and Paul Dunne in the semifinals. Come the final, Fox did away with the drama, winning the first three holes over Otaegui to clinch victory with a halved par.

“There was some scrappy stuff in there, but I got out of trouble when I needed to and I played great today in the final,” said Fox, who was making his last start before getting married next month. “Adrian didn’t quite play to his best this afternoon, but I'm quite happy to take advantage of that.”

It was Fox’s first Euro Tour title in 79 starts. Last summer, Fox posted three straight top-10 finishes in the tour’s Rolex Series events, including a playoff loss to Russell Knox at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

“I’ve been close a couple of times and it was certainly nice to get one over the line today in a place I hold pretty special,” said Fox, whose father, Grant, was a World-Cup winning rugby player.

It was the first victory by a New Zealand golfer on the European Tour since Danny Lee won as an amateur at the Johnnie Walker Classic in 2009.