June 18, 2024

Fantastic Fox claims wire-to-wire win at Ras Al Khaimah Classic

 Fantastic Fox claims wire-to-wire win at Ras Al Khaimah Classic

RAS AL KHAIMAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – FEBRUARY 13: Ryan Fox of New Zealand poses with the trophy following his victory during day four of the Ras Al Khaimah Classic at Al Hamra Golf Club on February 13, 2022 in Ras al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Ryan Fox secured his second DP World Tour title in wire-to-wire fashion at the Ras Al Khaimah Classic, after the New Zealander recovered from a nervy start to eventually cruise home for a five-shot victory at Al Hamra Golf Club.

The 35-year-old was slow out of the traps on the final day in the northernmost of the United Arab Emirates, while others came flying out of the blocks, but the six-stroke lead he had built in the opening three rounds helped ease the pressure before he finally found his feet.

A birdie at the eighth meant he at least reached the turn in level par and, having been only two clear of a busy chasing pack after 11 holes, he drained a huge putt at the 12th for the first of back-to-back birdies which really hammered home his advantage and put the Kiwi virtually out of reach.

Probably relief is the main emotion, obviously it was a bit of a struggle today,” said Fox. “Sleeping on a six shot lead, I didn’t sleep very well last night. Obviously a couple of the guys came at me early. I was a bit nervous, I had that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach all day but I’m very happy with how I played, a couple of great shots coming down the stretch and it was certainly nice walking down the last with putter in hand with so many putts to win.

“I learned that I’m pretty resilient, obviously there was some bad stuff in there but I just kept plugging away. There were a couple of big momentum putts on the back nine, the one on ten for par and then the one on 12 just kick-started everything and I felt like I played pretty solid the rest of the way in.”

Fox, the son of New Zealand rugby legend Grant, finished in style with a birdie at the last to rubber-stamp victory with a three under 69 and a 22 under total, moving him to eighth in the DP World Tour Rankings.

Englishman Ross Fisher came through the pack with a pair of 66s at the weekend to clinch second place outright on 17 under while Pablo Larrazábal – who at one point looked most likely to capitalise on Fox’s shaky start – shared third place with Germany’s Hurly Long and Zander Lombard of South Africa.