Kiwi Ryan Fox has started strongly on the opening day of the Saudi International shooting a 4-under 66 to be tied for 8th place with Phil Mickelson.
The second edition of the Saudi event in King Abdullah Economic City has drawn ten major champions including Mickelson, Ernie Els, Brooks Koepka and last year’s champion Dustin Johnson.
Fox began his opening round in great form, turning at halfway 4-under with two birdies (1 & 4) and an eagle on the par 5 5th hole. He went on to par the back nine with a pair of birdies and bogies, to finish two shots behind leaders Graeme McDowell and Gavin Green on 6-under.
McDowell birdied his final three holes in difficult conditions to grab a share of the lead alongside Green who teed off in the first group of the day and took advantage of perfect scoring conditions, turning in 30 with five birdies.
McDowell and Green finished a shot clear of Swedish duo Henrik Stenson and Sebastian Soderberg, Spaniard Adri Arnaus, Frenchman Victor Perez and Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas.
After making the turn at two-over, Mickelson surged up the leaderboard with seven birdies and a bogey on the back nine as he got to four-under alongside Fox.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson and Lucas Herbert, who won the Dubai Desert Classic last weekend, were in the group three shots off the lead.
Fox, who will be returning home to play in the NZ Open next month, was destined to begin well after playing in the pro-am on Wednesday stating that the course was playing great and he was looking forward to the challenge this week.