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Fox happy with golf form ahead of NZ Open

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/03/2017

Ryan Fox's first goal is to be in contention on Sunday.

From there, anything could happen, including becoming the first local hope since Mahal Pearce 14 years ago to get his name on the New Zealand Open golf trophy.

The European Tour rookie and world No.145 will have plenty attention on him when he tees off in Queenstown on Thursday morning in a tournament with a pro-am format.

He will be playing his father, All Blacks great Grant Fox, and will have renowned caddy Steve Williams on his bag for the first time.

Fox, 30, missed the cut at the Tshwane Open in South Africa last week but is feeling happy about his form.

"I've been playing pretty nicely without putting any scores on the board," he said.

"The goal this week is to be in contention come Sunday afternoon and anything can happen from there. I'd love to see my name on the trophy at the end of the week."

The $NZ1 million event will be staged at Millbrook and The Hills, and Fox believes the courses are playing tougher than in previous years.

"The greens are pretty firm and definitely around The Hills there's a lot of the long stuff if you miss fairways," he said.

"It might be a little more penalising, but there's definitely some good scores to be had."

Williams has worked with some of the best, carrying the bag for 13 of Tiger Woods' major championship victories and also when Adam Scott won the 2013 Masters.

His partnership with Fox means he is having to do some things differently.

"I've caddied for 40 years and never caddied for a player who plays in metres," Williams said.

"I've got to get my head around that pretty quickly."

Among those also flying the New Zealand flag will be Michael Hendry, Josh Geary and Gareth Paddison.

The international charge will be led by South Korea's YE Yang, the first Asian to claim a major, and American Heath Slocum, a four-time US PGA Tour winner

The past five winners, all Australians, are also in the 150-strong field, including defending champion Matt Griffin.

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