Surprised Fox tops leaderboard at Irish Open with 8-under 64
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THOMASTOWN, Ireland (AP) — New Zealand’s Ryan Fox was surprised Thursday to find himself leading the Irish Open after the opening round, despite his impressive form this season.
Fox had eight birdies, including seven in his last 11 holes, in a flawless 8-under 64 at Mount Juliet. He has a one-shot lead over Frederic Lacroix, Jorge Campillo, Fabrizio Zanotti and Marcel Schneider.
Fox, who lost a playoff for the 2018 Irish Open to Scotland’s Russell Knox, won the Ras Al Khaimah Classic in February, finished runner-up in the Soudal Open and Dutch Open and was third in the BMW International on Sunday.
“I’m more surprised, to be honest, than anything else,” the 56th-ranked Fox said. “I’ve been fighting it on the range the last couple of days and a 64 certainly didn’t look likely early in the round.
“I made a couple of birdies but I was scrapping away and hit a great wedge on my eighth hole (the 17th) and made a few putts as well. So just one of those days that shows how important patience is in a round of golf.”
Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington shot a 2-under 70 just days after his victory in the US Senior Open, while 2019 Open champion Shane Lowry had to settle for a 71.
“It’s a pity with the finish,” said Harrington, who bogeyed two of his last three holes. “It’s just a part of the game, isn’t it?”
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