Ryan Fox – photo credit Getty Images
New Zealand’s Ryan Fox has a share of the lead at the Saudi International at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia but he will have to wait until Saturday morning (Saudi time) to determine if he retains that position.
Several players have yet to finish their second rounds after weather delayed the completion of play on day two, one of those players Fox’s co-leader, Stephen Gallacher, who has six holes to play when he returns to the golf course.
Also looming as a major threat to his lead is world number one, Dustin Johnson, who is just two off the lead with four holes to play.
34 year old Fox, who has missed four of his last six cuts in an understandably limited schedule of late, was delighted with his form especially given the quality of the field this week.
“I’m very happy,” said Fox. “It’s been a really solid couple days of ball-striking, and saw a few putts go in both days, which was nice. And, I mean, to be sitting near the top of this leaderboard is always a good thing. It’s a pretty strong field this week.
“I don’t know how many of the top 50 in the world are here this week, but it’s a lot. And there’s a reason they’re there. They’re world-class players.”
Fox is currently ranked 208th in the world ranking but has been as low as 66 after his win in Perth in February 2019.
“And I certainly hope to be there one day,” he added. And if I can play well this week, then it’s a step forward in that direction. If not, it’s just good experience and a nice finish to my desert swing because I don’t really know when I’m going to come back out here again.”
Fox was referring to the ongoing travel issues caused by COVID and even this week he is concerned about making his flight back to New Zealand on Sunday night.
“As long as I can make my flight on Sunday to make sure I get back into New Zealand. But, yeah, like this is what you play golf for, to be in contention. And it’s been a while since I’ve been in this position. And I’ll just go out and enjoy it on the weekend and see if I can keep playing how I’m playing. I know if I do, I’ve got a good chance on Sunday.”
Fox’s only win on the European Tour came in Perth two years ago but there have also been two runner-up finishes so he has proven himself capable of handling the heat of the battle and this weekend against so many of the game’s best players will provide an interesting test for him.