Ryan Fox Wins NZ Am Stroke

Ryan Fox had no difficulty in storming home to win the New Zealand Amateur Stroke Play championship by five strokes over Shaun Jones at Russley Golf Club in Christchurch.

The world number 27 fired rounds of 68-69-73-73 for a 5-under-par total, the only player for the championship recording a sub-par four round total. Jones in contrast carded rounds of 68-69-76-75 to finish the championship at even. Queensland based Blake McGrory was in 3rd position at plus-1, a stroke ahead of Thomas Brockelsby and Ben Campbell in a tie for 4th at 2-over-par.

The win in Christchurch is Fox's second main New Zealand amateur title after collecting the North Island Stroke Play last month. A powerful hitter of the ball, Fox's game is a mixture of raw talent and brut strength.

This season in Australia, Fox recorded four top-10 finishes at the Australian Master of the Amateurs, Lake Macquarie Amateur, Riversdale Cup and the Australian Stroke Play championships. Fox was also a semi-finalist at the Australian Amateur Championship last month at Victoria Golf Club.

"I play aggressive," says Fox.

"That's my game and I am really proud of getting it done today. This course hasn't played easy all week, so it's been good to finish under par and secure this win."

Fox upon returning to New Zealand since the Australian summer has dominated the local scene with winning the last four tournaments in succession.

"I feel like I have figured out how to win and my game is better than it has been for a while, the results are coming which gives me confidence."

While Fox flourished around the Russley Golf Club during the final round, his challenges faulted.

Thomas Spearman"“Burn, who shot the lights out in a superb six under 66 in the third round at Russley, couldn't add to his New Zealand Amateur title of 2008 closing with a seven over par 79 to finish in a tie for 6th position at 3-over-par.

Vaughan McCall after a 69 in 3rd round to play into contention for the final day, was similarly erratic closing with a 7-over-par 79 to move down the leader board to eventually finish in a tie for 11th.

Only three players played par or better on the final day with the low rounds going to Joshua Munn (69), Blake McGrory (72) and Jonathon Ratcliffe (72).

This New Zealand Amateur championship had a virtual non-showing of Australian players which is just a disappointing effort by our Authorities and players given the support New Zealand Golf gives to our main tournaments.

Irrespective of conflicting tournament dates with the Mandurah Easter Amateur in Western Australian being played at the same time as the New Zealand Amateur, the honour of collecting a National Title surely outweighs winning an event like Mandurah, even if Mandurah somehow holds onto its Australian National Selection event status. Our emerging players need international experience by playing outside their comfort zones if they are to challenge the world amateur scene later in June-July in the UK and the US.

Simon Vittakangas was the sole Australian competing and finished in 45th position. Blake McGrory's effort was also impressive, assuming we can claim the Brisbane based New Zealander an Aussie, which in this case we will.

The field at the New Zealand Amateur has been reduced to the top-32 players for elimination match-play which commences Sunday at Russley.

Fox enters the championship as the top seed and given his recent fine run, you would have to like his chances of going back to back for another national title.

"It was my goal at the start of the week to win the Strokeplay "“ Matchplay double," said Fox.

"I have given myself a chance of doing that, which I'm looking forward to."

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