KILKENNY, Ireland – In his last five competitive rounds, Ryan Fox is 28 under par. But when he teed off early Thursday at the Horizon Irish Open, it wasn’t exactly confidence he was feeling.
Despite finishing third in last week’s BMW International Open on the DP World Tour, Fox said he’d been slowed the last week with flu-like symptoms and his swing wasn’t feeling much better. It made his 8-under 64 on Day 1 in Ireland that much more impressive.
“I'm more surprised, to be honest, than anything else,” he admitted. “I've been fighting it on the range the last couple days after the weekend, and certainly didn't look like it early in the round.”
Fox said something clicked on his eighth hole of the day (No. 17) and he played his last 11 holes in 7 under par to take the early lead. It was a familiar start for the New Zealander, who lost a playoff to Russell Knox at the 2018 Irish Open.
At that ’18 tournament, Fox was beaten when Knox made a 40-footer for birdie at the 72nd hole to force overtime and another putt from a similar range to win the event.
“Maybe just for me not to get in playoffs, if I can stay away from them,” laughed Fox when asked what he’s learned playing the Irish Open. “I seem to have a record of people holing 40-footers on me in playoffs.”