Ryan Fox has successfully defended his Tahiti Open title with a dramatic one-shot victory over fellow New Zealander Kieran Muir. Fox fired a final round three-under-par 69 to finish the championship at 20-under-par (268).
The big hitting Kiwi began the day with a three-shot lead but was quickly back with the chasing group mid-way through the front nine after three early bogies.
Muir started well with four early birdies and went on to finish with two birdies on 17 and 18 to post a seven-under-par 65 and take outright second.
Australian Edward Stedman carded the low round of the week with a final round of nine-under-par 63 to finish in solo third and the best placed Australian behind Kiwis Fox and Muir.
Fox battled back from his disappointing start, recording two birdies on his back nine and avoided a bogey on his final 13 holes.
It came down to a 35-ft putt on the 72nd green which Fox needed to two-putt for par to claim victory.
“I knew it was pretty close coming up the last but knew that a par would win it and that is just what I managed to do” said the 27-yr-old Fox.
“I played well all week and absolutely love coming to Tahiti.
“It is one of the best events we play all year and I am thrilled to win this event again” he added.
Local professional Vaita Guillaume cared a superb seven-under 65 on the final day to move into the top-15 and highlight the local golfing talent in Tahiti.
This year’s event marks the 30th Anniversary of the championship and past champions include Brett Ogle (Aus) and Steve Alker (NZ). Fox adds his name to a select list as a multiple winner of the Tahiti Open and reaffirms him as one of the best young prospects to come out of New Zealand in many years along with runner-up Muir.
The Tahiti Open is part of the Australian Choice Hotels PGA Pro-Am Circuit with players competing for a share in one of the richest prize-purses on the circuit.