Fox revels in historic back nine at The Open

Ryan Fox was unaware he was on the way to making history during his round as he produced the lowest back-nine score recorded at an Open on Thursday.

The New Zealander made an inauspicious start at Royal Portrush and was three over par through the front nine.

But Fox had a much happier time of it on the way home as he made six birdies and three pars, with his back-nine total of 29 setting a new benchmark in the famous tournament.

“It’s pretty good considering how I started,” said Fox, who is among 13 players two back of leader J. B. Holmes on three under. “I didn’t know it at the time but it’s nice to know it was a record.

“Sometimes you need something to click. I was getting frustrated over the first nine holes but then I changed my mindset and saw a few starting to go in.”

Fox had been struggling for form heading into the final major of the year but was delighted to piece together a round that left him looking up the leaderboard to find his name.

“I’m just trying to get out of my own way at the moment – I’ve been a little bit down on myself, frustrated and thinking about the technical stuff too much,” he added. 

“I’ve been trying to just enjoy myself and that finally worked. It’s really hard to do – I’ve missed seven cuts in a row and been trying to do that for seven weeks.

“To figure it out in a major is certainly nice – there’s a long way to go but it’s the first round in a while where I had some fun and some control over the golf ball.”

Jon Rahm is also well poised after matching Fox’s round as he eyes a first major title.

The Spaniard, who finished an otherwise promising day with a bogey at the last, said: “I feel like I played two rounds out there today. Still a great score, my best score in an Open Championship.

“Obviously a really good first 12 holes. The only mistake was 11, it was still a decent shot, it wasn’t that bad. It just got tough at the end, honestly.

“I feel really good off the tee. I think some of the shots coming in, there was just a little bit of commitment issue, maybe just lack of commitment on some of the shots.

“But besides that, the day has been pretty good. Good round. And feeling good. I mean it’s a good start. You can’t win the tournament today but you can lose it and I’m in good position for tomorrow.”