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Fox claims maiden win in Perth

Fox claims maiden win in Perth

Ryan Fox claimed a convincing 3&2 victory over Adrian Otaegui to win his first European Tour title at the ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth.

Ryan Fox

The New Zealander finished eight under after 54 holes of stroke play to earn a bye into the last 16 of the six hole knockout stages but he still had to come through 25 holes on Sunday to lift the trophy at Lake Karrinyup Country Club.

He needed three trips to the Shootout hole to beat Thai Jazz Janewattananond before claiming 1up triumphs over Norwegian Kristoffer Reitan and Ireland's Paul Dunne.

The 32-year-old then jumped out into a 3up lead against Otaegui in the final and victory was his when the fourth was halved in pars.

Fox's victory in his 79th European Tour event makes him the first winner from New Zealand since Danny Lee won the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic as an amateur.

After wins on the European Challenge Tour in 2015 and 2016, Fox burst onto the European Tour scene in the summer of 2017 with three consecutive top tens in Rolex Series events.

Russell Knox holed long putts on the last and the first play-off hole to deny Fox a Rolex Series victory at last season's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation but he is now a European Tour winner.

"I've been close a couple of times and it was certainly nice to get one over the line today in a place I hold pretty special," he said.

"There was some scrappy stuff in there but I got out of trouble when I needed to and I played great today in the final. Adrian didn't quite play to his best this afternoon but I'm quite happy to take advantage of that.

"I drove the ball very well most of the week and managed to do that today."

Spaniard Otaegui's two European Tour wins have come in match play events and he had to birdie the 18th on Saturday to make it into the knockout stages after an 11-man play-off.

He beat Australian Daniel Gale 2up in round one and then saw off top seed Per Langfors 2&1 before a 2up victory over home favourite Min Woo Lee.

He looked in imperious form as he beat Scott Vincent 3&2 in the semis but the final was a step too far for the 26-year-old.

"A little bit disappointed after losing the final but it's been a good week," he said. "Second is a solid week. I went from low to up during the week, so that's good as well, that's a good feeling.

"I played very good golf the first four games, just nothing went the way I wanted in the end, but I'm still happy."

Fox was given a reprieve in the last 16 as Janewattananond missed a three-footer to knock him out and he responded by putting his next tee-shot to similar range for the win.

Qualifying School graduate Reitan bogeyed the last in their quarter-final, meaning a par after getting up and down from the bunker was enough to hand Fox the win, with a Dunne bogey on the third after finding sand proving crucial in the semi.

Fox got a nice bounce out of the trees on the first in the final and while both men went over the green, Fox got up and down while Otaegui bogeyed after a clumsy chip.

Otaegui found the fairway bunker on the second for the third match in a row and Fox claimed the hole convincingly after getting on the green at the par five in two.

A birdie from 15 feet on the third then had Fox in total control before both men parred the fourth and shook hands.

In the battle for third, Dunne was 2up after two against Vincent before the Zimbabwean won the fifth and sixth to take the match to the Shootout hole.

Vincent then put his tee-shot into the grandstand for a bogey, with Dunne hitting the pin and sealing third.

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