Low numbers and high finishes is the M. O. for Daniel Fox this season, and this trend is continuing into the first Triple Crown event of the Australian summer.
To the delight of fans and promoters, Adam Scott soared into the Australian Masters lead with a fantastic 7-under 64 around the famous Huntingdale track.
The only problem was the lack of a worthy challenger, as the decorated Australian made a big move towards his third gold jacket.
With Scott’s lead at three and the afternoon scoring going backwards, Daniel Fox made his way to the fifth tee on his second nine.
At the time Fox was six back with the wind howling, but the Lakelands golfer defied the weather to reel off five straight birdies to close his round. A 40 foot bomb on the ninth announced his challenge to Scott, signing for a 6-under 65 that reduced the Queenslander's advantage to one.
Today was one of many great Daniel Fox performances in a purple patch that has stretched out for a month. From his last 13 rounds, the West Australian is a colossal 46-under par — winning the WA Open, finishing runner-up at the WA PGA Championship and placing in the top five at the NSW Open.
Post round, Fox admitted he is still coming to terms with his radical improvement.
“I’ve played a few Australian Opens and Masters, but I’ve never been in a position like this going into the second round — or any round!” said Fox to the media.
Fox acknowledged his bubble could burst any day, but he has hopes he is living in a new normal after making significant changes away from the golf course.
“I don’t see why this can’t continue if I keep doing what I have been doing,” said Fox.
“There’s no drinking now (during events). Since Tuesday it’s been all water, rehydrating, getting myself ready, and my trainer’s given me stretches to do. I’m actually occupying my mind with all that sort of stuff.”
“I really notice that my anxiety levels are a lot lower when I’m drinking a lot more water. I don’t have those peaks and valleys that I tend to get.”
Whether calmness is leading to quality golf or vice-versa, it’s clear that Fox has his game and tempered emotions are feeding off each other. Golfers in this space always claim to having luck on their side, but luck is often wasted on those who can’t take advantage.
“It was just one of those days,” said Fox.
“I was playing the downwind par-5 seventh, and then on the next hole back into the wind, it just died away so I could get back up to the green.
“I had some little breaks that I could take advantage of, and I was fortunate enough to do it.”
Fox’s goal this summer isn’t to win a Triple Crown event but to make sure he maintains his top 10 standing in the order of merit. Even with his name just below Scott on the leaderboard, there’s no vertigo as he focuses on his goal.
“I have dreams of playing the PGA Tour and stuff like that. It’s still there,” said Fox.
“If I can maintain my position until the end of the season I can be exempt to final stages (of Q-School events). I don’t need to be playing pro-ams and doing it hard, you know.
“I’ve always pictured myself playing overseas. The opportunity is there for me, which is why I’m not getting too carried away.”
With every step he takes towards achieving his dream, this cheerful 39-year-old may inadvertently become a poster-boy for the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. And with a new lease on life, Fox joked about his only regret.
“I should have started doing this 20 years ago!”