New Zealand's top-ranked golfer Ryan Fox returns to the venue of last year's Ryder Cup to begin his push to qualify for the European Tour season-ending Dubai World Championships.
Fox tees off tonight at the Open De France outside Paris, played on the Le Golf National course where Europe completed a stunning win over the United States in the Ryder Cup in September last year.
"It is one of the toughest tests of golf you can have and probably the strongest closing stretch of holes I've ever played," Fox said.
The Kiwi has had a tough season after winning his maiden Tour title at the IPS Handa World Super 6 in Perth in February. He has missed eight cuts including six in a row before returning to form with his best result in a major, tied for 16th at the British Open in July. He is coming off a tie for 18th at the Italian Open last weekend.
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"It was a nice week last week, there were a lot of positives, first tournament I managed to put four rounds together for a while. I felt like I hit some decent golf shots again and trending in the right direction," Fox said.
Fox is ranked 128th in the world and 55th on the European Race to Dubai standings. (Top 50 qualify for the tour finale) It's something the 32-year-old firmly believes he will achieve.
"I've got a little bit of work to do to get to Dubai but I've got four weeks to do it and a couple of the Rolex Finals Series events in Turkey and South Africa, so last week was just a start and if I can contend over the next few weeks I can contend for Dubai," Fox said.
Those tournaments are lucrative, the Turkish Airlines Open from November 7 to November 10 carries a purse of USD$7m and the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa, a week later, worth US$7.5 million.
Before that Fox has this week in France and next week's Portugal Masters to try to boost his ranking. And he's particularly looking forward to returning to a course that attracted worldwide attention during the Ryder Cup.
"The golf course is in fantastic shape, it's going to be a good test of golf this week, and they have kept it in great condition since the Ryder Cup. They have cut a bit of the rough down but it doesn't make it any less of a test of golf. I have played well here the last couple of years including a top 10 finish so it's a golf course I enjoy playing."