Playing in his National Open, Ryan Fox will carry the favourite tag into the week.
Unaware that as the highest ranked player in the field he was also the tournament favourite, Fox was quick to deflect the limelight.
Instead the always gracious New Zealander pointed out the depth of talent on display this week at the BMW ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open.
“I didn’t realise I was the favourite, we have a really good field here this week,” said Fox.
“I am playing with Daniel Chopra and he is a two time PGA TOUR winner.”
“There are also quite a lot of the Japanese guys down here and they are an unknown quantity for us. But they have played for years on Tour in Japan and are proven winners.”
“It’s good to have such a good field down here, but it would be nice for one the Kiwis to have our name on the trophy at the end of the week.”
According to Fox, The Hills and Millbrook Resort will even out the playing field and the person who emerges victorious on Sunday will need to have played top quality golf.
“The good thing about the golf courses around here is that there have been short hitters and long hitters win so it’s a good test of a golf course in that regard,” added Fox.
“I think The Hills gives you a few more opportunities, especially on the back-9. If you are really on, on the back-9, there are a lot of slopes you can use to get the ball close to the hole and give yourself a lot of really short birdie chances. But then again if you’re just off it will penalise you quite a lot.”
“Millbrook can trip you up a bit because we haven’t played it as much as we have The Hills. It’s always nice to get a good round there, you can put yourself in a good position if you get it going.”
Renowned as a long hitter Fox believes some of the strengths of his game will be mitigated on the layouts this week despite carrying form from the Holden NZ PGA Championship.
“I don’t hit driver as much out here so it doesn’t play to my strengths. I get to hit a little less club off some of the tees compared to some of the others guys so I guess that’s an advantage,” added Fox.
“The NZ PGA was a great build up. It was nice to put a couple of good scores on the board and feel like I was in contention come Sunday afternoon.”
“I’ll just try to keep doing that this week.”
The BMW ISPS HANDA New Zealand Open tees off at Millbrook Resort and The Hills on Thursday 10th March with the winner to be decided at The Hills on Sunday 13th March.