Ryan Fox – file photo Henry Peters
New Zealand’s Ryan Fox seems to thrive on links golf and he again proved that was the case with an opening round of 64 at the Old Course at St Andrews on day one of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
Fox trails South African Justin Walters by just one shot and shares second place with France’s Victor Perez, England’s Jordan Smith and Spain’s Adria Otaegui.
Four of the leading five scores on day one came from the Old Course, this event played over three courses (Kingsbarns and Carnoustie the other two) in the opening three rounds before the event returns to St Andrews for the final round on Sunday.
Several of Fox’s best finish on the European Tour have come on links layouts in events such as the Scottish Opens and he once again showed his liking for this style of golf with six birdies and an eagle including five birdies in his last six holes.
Fox also leads the Pro-Am event with cricketing great partner, Shane Warne, who added four nett birdies of his own for the team to open with a combined round of 12 under and a share of the lead in that contest.
“I played really solid and for the first time in a while,” said Fox. “I saw some putts go in and hit some great shots coming down the stretch. It was just nice to take advantage of those fairly benign conditions out there.
“It’s a cool format to get to play these three golf courses, and they look after us so well this week. I love Pro-Am formats, and I’ve played with Shane Warne the last couple years and we get along really well. We’ve had a lot of fun out there, become good friends because of this event.
“I feel like for me, he wants to do well here and I can kind of focus on trying to help him out, rather than focus on my score, which as professional golfers, I think we get stuck in a little bit too much.”
Fox will play Carnoustie in tomorrow’s second round.
Marcus Fraser is the leading Australian after his opening round of 66 at Kingsbarns to be in a share of 12th place. The Victorian has played on a limited basis in recent months and has missed the cut in the last six events he has played so this represents a significant turnaround for the tree time European Tour event winner.
New South Wales golfer, Callan O’Reilly and Dimi Papdatos are next best after their rounds of 68 at St Andrews while Lucas Herbert and Harrison Endycott are at 3 under 69 although given the low scoring they are tied for 53rd.
A massive 121 of the 168 players broke par on day one with pre tournament favourite off to a relatively slow start when he opened with 70 at Carnoustie.
“Being here has a healing quality.”
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) September 26, 2019