2022 Hero Open Preview
RYAN FOX will be looking to continue his astonishing DP World Tour season when he tees it up at the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews as many of Europe’s finest golfers return to the home of golf.
He won the Ras al Kaimah Classic in February, which signalled the start of an extraordinary run of form. The big-hitting Kiwi has since finished runner-up at the Soul Open, Dutch Open and Irish Open, along with a third-place finish at the BMW International Open.
The New Zealander has always been a hugely talented golfer but this year he has finally found some consistency and is knocking on the door of the top 50 in the world rankings at the age of 35.
In his third season on the DP World Tour, Fox claimed his maiden title at the 2019 ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth, beating Adrian Otaegui in the final of the innovative event. Bridged a three-year gap between victories as he won his second title at the Ras Al Khaimah Classic, cruising to a five-stroke victory at Al Hamra Golf Club.
Twelve months ago Grant Forrest produced a brilliant birdie-birdie finish to win his first European Tour title on home soil at the 2021 Hero Open.
The Scot entered the day in a share of the lead with countryman Calum Hill and for a large part of the final round it was a head to head battle between the two home favourites.
But on a dramatic afternoon at Fairmont St Andrews, England's James Morrison carded a closing 63 to set the target at 23 under and lead by one as Forrest stood on the 17th tee.
The 28-year-old then engineered a stunning finish, putting his tee shot to four feet on the penultimate hole and making a 30 foot two putt from just off the green at the par five last to take the title by one shot after a 66.
Spaniard Santiago Tarrio birdied two of his last three holes in a bogey free 68 to finish at 21 under, a shot clear of Hill and another Scotsman in David Law.
The victory in his 77th event moved 2018 European Challenge Tour graduate Forrest into the top 200 in the Official World Golf Ranking and the top 40 on the Race to Dubai.
A winner of the 2010 Scottish Boys and 2012 Scottish Amateur Championship, Forrest became the first Scotsman to win on home soil since Paul Lawrie at the 2012 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Fairmont St Andrews is a par 72 measuring 7,230 yards. It is a classic links course featuring rivetted bunkers, gorse and undulating greens.
The tournament was won in 2020 by Sam Horsfield and last year by Grant Forrest.
It is difficult to see beyond Grant Fox, who is in the form of his life, reeling off top-10 finishes for fun. He won’t be troubled if the wind blows because he knows how to manipulate the ball. Don’t be too surprised to see defending champion Grant Forrest there or thereabouts, having returned to form at Hillside last week.
Ryan Fox. In the form of his life
Grant Forrest. Would love to make a successful defence
Richie Ramsay. On the crest of a wave after exploits at Hillside
Five to Follow
Ryan Fox. Looking to establish himself in top 50 in world rankings
Grant Forrest. Loves playing on home soil
Richie Ramsay. Love links golf
Ewen Ferguson. Great Scot
David Law. Quietly goes about his business
Five Outsiders to Watch
Scott Jamieson. Looking to recapture early-season form
Eddie Pepperell. Says he is working to hard on his game
Richard Mansell. Has shown some promising form
Mike Lorenzo Vera. Has been in the doldrums
Victor Dubuisson. The great enigma
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