Ryan Fox in action this week – photo DP World Tour / Getty Images
Ryan Fox might not have won this week’s Horizon Irish Open but today’s runner-up finish further confirmed his remarkable success in that event.
By staging a magnificent final round of 64, Fox added this week’s runner-up finish to a similar finish in the event in 2018 and a 4th place finish in 2017.
In addition, one of Fox’s two Challenge Tour victories and his best finish in a major (16th at Royal Portrush in 2019) came in Northern Ireland so his love affair with the island containing the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have played a key role in the 35 year old’s standing in the game.
Fox’s finish this morning will again move him to an all time high in the world ranking following the rise to 56th his 3rd place finish in Germany last week gave him. When the revised rankings are released later today Fox will find himself just inside the top 50 for the first time in his career, providing opportunities for players inside that milestone ranking.
Today Fox began the final round 1 hour and 15 minutes behind the final group and five shots behind the eventual winner Adrian Meronk.
Working through the front nine in 3 under, Fox had made progress on those ahead but was still four behind Meronk. Then would come a rush of birdies and an eagle and despite being unable to get up and down from behind the green at the final hole to save par, when he finished his round Fox had the lead by one.
Meronk, though, would also produce a remarkable finish with birdies at the 15th and 16th and an eagle of his own at the par 5 17th and he had opened a three-shot lead playing the last. A final par gave him a three shot victory and his first European Tour win and for his country, their first success on the DP World Tour.
For Fox, however, his great season in 2022 continues, this being his 7th top ten in his last tens starts including his win in the UAE earlier in the season. The finish this week and the massive cheque for €630,000 takes Fox to 4th in the Race to Dubai Rankings.
“Apart from bogeying the last,” responded Fox when it was suggested soon after walking from the last green his finish might have closed out another European Tour title. “18 was only bad shot I hit today and nice to see some putts go in. Been a weird week, shoot 64 in the first round, didn’t miss a shot and same today, and then a little bit of scrappiness in the middle. I think it’s going to be one short.
“To be honest, everything clicked. Actually, through the front nine I had a couple chances and didn’t convert them. On the back nine made a few nice putts and it was one of those days where everything kind of worked. Literally only hit one bad shot, the one down 18 and just happened to be in between clubs and went for a draw and pulled it a little bit.
“You know, rest of the game was solid was it was most of the week. I just had a couple cold days with the putter in the middle but very happy with the game is at at the moment obviously.”
Fox will now play the Scottish Open and Open Championships and believes it is now a case of saving energy as he looks ahead to St Andrews where he performed well in 2015.
“For me the next couple of weeks, I’ve played both the golf courses a lot, so it’s going to be more about energy management rather than trying to find anything in the game. Obviously the game is in pretty good shape at the moment. Yeah, just go out, try to beat the golf course. That’s what I’ve been trying to do the last few weeks and seems to be working pretty well.”
Defending champion, Lucas Herbert, was well placed heading into the final round but made a horror start to his day when making the turn in 40 but stormed home with a back nine of 31 which also included a bogey at the last and he would finish 9th.