Last man in Ryan Fox happy with 72 after wild, 19-hour journey to WGC-Mexico
Played course blind and admittedly ‘felt drunk for the last four or five holes’
February 21, 2019
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
- After a wild, 19-hour journey to the WGC-Mexico Championship, Ryan Fox is happy with a 1-over 72 in the first round. (PGA TOUR)
MEXICO CITY – New Zealand’s Ryan Fox shot a 1-over 72 in the first round of the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship on Thursday. That wasn’t terrible.
But it was a lot better than that, all things considered.
“I don’t know which end is up right now,” Fox said as he stood on the Club de Golf Chapultepec driving range, sipping a Coke. “I probably felt drunk almost the last four or five holes today; I don’t think I’ve ever had that during a tournament round before. The last 36 hours have been pretty hectic.”
Thinking he’d never get in, Fox, 32, was on a fishing trip three-plus hours north of Auckland on Tuesday when he was told there was a spot in the field in Mexico. His victory in last week’s World Super 6 Perth, a tri-sanctioned European Tour event, had boosted his Official World Golf Ranking to 66th. Surprisingly, that was enough. Now he just had to cross oceans.
So did Marcus Wheelhouse, Fox’s coach and fill-in caddie this week. Wheelhouse had just gotten done with a full day of teaching at JK’s World of Golf, a driving range adjacent to the Auckland Airport, when he got the news of their impending adventure.
“Ryan called me Tuesday night and said, ‘Mate, we’re in,’” Wheelhouse said.
Fox drove back to Auckland, and they flew to San Francisco, where they had a two-hour layover, and on to Mexico. They arrived Wednesday night, and Wheelhouse woke up early Thursday to walk all 18 holes before Fox’s 11:15 a.m. tee time with Byeong Hun An and Aaron Rai.
“I probably would’ve taken 72 on the first tee this morning,” Fox said. “At least with the time difference I could get here. We’re 19 hours ahead in Auckland.”
His surprisingly solid round was marred only by bogeys at the 11th and 15th holes, par-5s.
“I actually played nicely and was 1-under through 10,” he said, “and looked like I could be a couple more than that. But then I hit a tree off the tee and bounced out of bounds on 11. That killed all my momentum.”
Then, he added, he “hit a wall” of fatigue on the last five holes.
Still, some 72s are better than other. Leader Rory McIlroy shot 63, and Fox is tied for 35th in the 72-man field, but he made it to Mexico. And with no cut, good fishing is guaranteed.