New Zealand’s Ryan Fox recovered from an early triple bogey to birdie the last hole and make history at the DP World Tour’s BMW PGA Championship which he won in gripping fashion at Wentworth on Sunday.
It was a maiden Rolex Series victory for Fox who also pocketed a cheque for €1,4million.
The New Zealander entered the final day at Wentworth Club three shots off the lead and when he made a triple-bogey on the difficult third, he could have been forgiven for thinking that he had blown his chance.
However, the 36-year-old golfer picked up two birdies on the front nine to turn in 36 and then came home in 31, birdieing the par-five 18th from six feet after laying up for a closing 67. Fox finished at 18 under, one clear of home favourites Tyrrell Hatton and Aaron Rai.
A tie for third at last week's Horizon Irish Open represented his best finish of 2023 and Fox now enters the history books as the first Kiwi winner of this event and follows in the footsteps of Major-winning countryman Michael Campbell, who won at the prestigious Surrey venue in the 2005 World Match Play Championship.
He also moves to third in the Race to Dubai Rankings in partnership with Rolex.
World Number Three Jon Rahm was 16 under after a 68, one ahead of Ryder Cup team-mate Viktor Hovland and two clear of Tommy Fleetwood. Major champion Rory McIlroy made a charge through the field with a closing 65 and finished at 13 under alongside Australian Adam Scott and England's Callum Shinkwin.
Dubai-based Adrian Meronk (Pol) shot rounds of 67, 68, 73 and 72 for a 72-hole total of 289, eight under par, to finish tied 28th and earn €75,171.37.
On completing his round Fox said: ‘I'm immensely proud. It's such an iconic tournament. I know Michael Campbell won around here when it was the match-play event and to add to that history here and create some of my own is very special.
“To have a back nine like that, especially after how I started the day, it's amazing. I played great. Pretty much didn't miss a shot from the third hole onwards and saw a couple of putts go in and it was a pretty cool feeling on the last to sort of know I had one to win and make it.
“I've got an almost three-year-old and a four-month-old standing over there and to have them here to support with a place pretty close by where we can stay at home this week just made the week,” he added.
“We have been through a pretty tough year as a family. We lost my father-in-law in June after a short battle with cancer and that kind of rocked the family. It's been tough going back and forth. To come over here and have a good week in Ireland last week and this,
“I don't think I could have wished for better. I've done a lot of travel. I've played a bit in the States this year, and I think every time I've gone home, I've not touched my golf clubs,” said Fox.
“There's just been so much going on at home. To have the family up the last couple of weeks, a change of scenery has been fantastic. Just had a chance to refresh and it sort of made all the difference.
“Everything feels a bit more normal the last couple of weeks rather than just complete chaos,” concluded Fox.
Final Scores (Selected)
Fox (NZ) 69. 68. 66. 67. 270. T. Hatton (Eng) 68. 69. 68. 66. 271.
Rai (Eng) 69. 67. 67. 68. 271.
Rahm (Spain) 71. 67. 66. 68. 272. V. Hovland (Nor) 69. 70. 67. 67. 273. T. Fleetwood (Eng) 69. 66. 67. 72. 274. R. McIlroy (NI) 72. 71. 67. 65. 275.
Scott (Aus) 71 69 67 68. 275.
Shinkwin (Eng) 68. 71. 64. 72. 275.
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