Ryan Fox chased further ahead in the Ras Al Khaimah Classic as the Kiwi’s three under second round 69 extended his lead to three shots at the halfway stage at Al Hamra Golf Club.
The 35-year-old had started the week with a superb course record-equalling 63 for a two-stroke lead in the northernmost of the United Arab Emirates, but even though that score was bettered by South African Oliver Bekker’s 62 on day two, Fox still increased his advantage.
It was a colorful finish for the Auckland-born player – whose sole victory on the Tour came on home soil in the 2019 ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth – with four birdies and three bogeys in his final seven holes, but it was enough for a leading 12 under total.
“It’s been lovely the last couple of days, I think it was four hours and five minutes on Thursday and four hours and ten this morning so hopefully the pace of play continues like that over the weekend,” said Fox. “I played normally and we had two quick guys in our group, it was just nice being one of the first couple of groups out – we just had great conditions this morning as well – and it’s just been an enjoyable couple of days really.”
Bekker, meanwhile, shot the lights out and set a new course record with a ten under round that included nine birdies, and eagle at the par five 14th and a bogey, the 37-year-old having enjoyed a top ten finish in last week’s Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital on the same course.
“After yesterday's start I knew I had to go low today so I kind of had nothing to lose,” said Bekker. “Then I left one short from 12 feet on the first hole and I thought, 'oh my word, you need to get it going'.
“I just need to keep on doing what I've been doing. Last week I had a good chance of finishing top-three probably and just fell away in the final round. Give myself chances, the more chances you get sometimes you're going to take a few of them and then take it from there.”
He shared second place with five others on nine under par, including five-time winner on Tour Pablo Larrazábal of Spain and another South African in Justin Harding – who had put himself into contention at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago, eventually finishing in a share of fourth.
Fans can access the Ras Al Khaimah Classic event free of charge. No ticket or registration is needed.
By Ashraf Ahmed
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