Ryan Fox earns first Charles Tour title

Auckland pro Ryan Fox has finally won on the Charles Tour and he has plenty of beer to celebrate his breakthrough victory.

The 27-year-old, who began the day with a two shot lead, secured a three stroke win at the ask>metro Muriwai Open when he carded a three-under par 69 in fine conditions today in Auckland.

Standing on the 18th tee, Fox held a five shot advantage but he hit his tee shot way right and lost his ball even with around 50 people on the search. The former NZ rep reloaded from the tee and made a double bogey to complete the win.

"It has been a long time coming but it is worth the wait," said Fox, who enjoyed his first win alongside his dad All Black great Grant Fox who caddied for him all four rounds.

"I have had a lot of great results in big tournaments with him but never quite got one across the line. We had a lot of fun out here this week."

Bay of Plenty professional Kieran Muir (70) finished alone in second for his best finish on the Charles Tour and Auckland pro Richard Lee (68) was third, five shots back from the champion.

Muriwai local Tadgh Campbell (70) secured the leading amateur honours from Waikato rep Nick Coxon (77) by five strokes but the main talking point in the clubhouse was the dominance of Fox.

It was somewhat of an anticlimax but the fact that Fox could double the last and still win by three shots was testament to the dominance that he showed in the 72 hole, $40,000 tournament.

Fox also claimed 26 dozen of Asahi beer after he tied for the low round of the tournament with Bay of Plenty amateur Hayden Beard (64) as the sponsor offered Free Beer for a Year in a promotion.

"I have had plenty of calls and texts since shooting the 64 of people telling me they will give me a hand to drink that 26 dozen beer. It is going to be good to get into that with the boys."

His 20-under par total was two shots shy of the tournament low record on the Charles Tour that his good mate Fraser Wilkin recorded last year to win the Taranaki Open.

Fox Senior joked that it is an easier walk caddying for Ryan these days as he used to play a bit more military golf. He knows how hard his boy has worked to be in this position and the trophy
was just reward.

"He is chasing a big dream like many of them are who have chosen to do this for a living. It is a tough gig that they have chosen. He has worked hard to get to where he has got and he has got a long way to get to where he wants to be but you have got feel what it is like to win and to finally do that in a Charles Tour event is pleasing."

Fox, who will leave tonight to play in Korea on the OneAsia Tour, was pleased with the way he handled the pressure as the frontrunner. He hopes his first Charles Tour victory is his first of many as he leaves the club of "˜best players to never have won on the Charles Tour'.

Fox has now won five titles as a pro the Martinborough Pro-am, the Fiji Open (2), the Jeep Pro-Am in Queensland and now the Muriwai Open.

"Winning at any level is good. You can't go out and expect to win a major or a PGA Tour event without winning along the way. To be in the lead for two days and to keep playing the way that I did was really pleasing."

h3. Women: Keh keeps ahead of Bristow at Muriwai

Auckland golfer Munchin Keh has completed an impressive performance at the ask>metro Muriwai Open for her fourth title on the Charles Tour.

The 21-year-old from the Titirangi Golf Club began the day with a three shot lead and carded a three-under par 69 to win by five shots from North Harbour professional Cathryn Bristow
(71) with Julianne Alvarez (70) in third place.

Keh successfully defended her title which was a breakthrough victory for her in 2013 as her first win on the Charles Tour.

The New Zealand rep, who is a favourite to compete in the Espirito Santo World Teams event in Japan, was proud of her performance.

"I was very consistent here all week and to win by five is a great achievement," she said.

"It is always a huge thing to win on the Charles Tour, I feel really honoured."

She said playing with Bristow, who will resume her LET season in two weeks, was a good test.

"It makes it even more satisfactory to beat someone like Cathryn. To know that she is going to play on the LET gives me a huge amount of confidence that I have been able to beat someone that good. It is a good indication of where I am at with my game."

Bristow also really enjoyed the experience of competing on the Charles Tour for the first time.

"You can practice all you like but it is never the same as being in it in a tournament so this has been great for me. I take a lot of positives from this week as I look forward to carrying it on [to the LET Tour]."


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