Fox fires late to win BMW PGA at Wentworth - PGA of Australia

Fox fires late to win BMW PGA at Wentworth

Kiwi Ryan Fox has shrugged off an early triple-bogey in the final round to claim an emotional BMW PGA Championship triumph at the storied Wentworth Club in London.

The 2019 PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit winner, Fox began the final round of the DP World Tour’s showpiece event three strokes off the lead.

A triple-bogey on the difficult third hole made his task even more unlikely.

Two birdies to close out a front nine of 1-over 36 turned momentum his way, a final birdie on the 72nd hole completing a back nine of 6-under 31, a final round of 5-under 67 and a one-stroke win from Englishmen Aaron Rai (68) and Tyrrell Hatton (66).

It is the fourth DP World Tour win of his career but Fox’s first Rolex Series victory is predicted to elevate him to No.31 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Fox enjoyed a stellar start to his Rolex Series career, claiming three top 10s in consecutive weeks in his rookie season in 2017 before adding another three in 2018, including a playoff loss at the Irish Open.

He had not had another Rolex Series top 10 since, or a top 10 at this event, coming into this week.

Yet with three wins prior and last season’s Seve Ballesteros Award after finishing second on the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, Fox is becoming more and more accustomed to stepping up in golf’s biggest events.

A tie for third at last week’s Horizon Irish Open represented his best finish of 2023 so far and he now enters the history books as the first Kiwi winner of this event, joining 2005 World Match Play champion Michael Campbell as New Zealanders to taste success at Wentworth.

“I’m immensely proud,” said Fox, who had wife Anneke and daughters Isobel and Margot present to help celebrate.

“It’s such an iconic tournament. I know Michael Campbell has 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.

“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.

“We have been through a pretty tough year as a family. We lost my father-in-law in June after a really, really 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.”

Fox responded to his early troubles with smart approaches to the sixth and eighth but really came to life in the pouring rain on the back nine.

The 36-year-old left himself just three feet for birdie on the 10th, holed out from the fringe on the 11th and got up-and-down from the sand on the 12th.

A tee shot to eight feet on the par-3 14th had him within one and he would soon share the lead, with Hatton going out of bounds on the 15th.

Hatton put his second shot off his provisional to six feet for bogey but had to wait an hour and 23 minutes to hit and make his putt after a lightning delay.

Fox was relentless, however, and despite going left and finding the trees off the 15th tee, hit a stunning second to nine feet and rolled it home to lead on his own.

Hatton chose to lay up on the last and birdied from eight feet for a 66 to put the pressure on and Rai, who was inches from making an eagle and forcing a playoff in his closing 68.

But Fox produced that late gain of his own to take the title, Aussie Min Woo Lee in the mix of the jubilant scenes on the 18th green.

Adam Scott’s final round of 4-under 68 saw him finish as the best Australian in a tie for seventh, Lee (70) tied for 14th, solidifying his place inside the top five in the Race to Dubai Ranking.

Photo: John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

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