Ryan Fox, son of All Blacks great Grant Fox, fires closing 62 to win NI Open

Ryan Fox watches the flight of his opening tee shot at Galgorm Castle on Sunday
Ryan Fox produced a superb final-round 62 to clinch the title at Galgorm Castle

New Zealander Ryan Fox, son of All Blacks rugby great Grant Fox, hit a closing nine-under-par 62 to win the Northern Ireland Open by four shots.

Three behind overnight leader Dylan Frittelli, Fox, 29, fired an eagle and nine birdies in Sunday's final round.

South African Frittelli shared second place on 15 under at Galgorm Castle with England's Max Orrin, plus German pair Dominic Foos and Bernd Ritthammer.

After starting well on Sunday, local man Michael Hoey finished eighth.

Four birdies in his opening 10 holes left tournament ambassador Hoey only three behind Fox but a bogey at the 13th ended his hopes as he carded a closing 68.

In his three previous outings as the event's ambassador Hoey missed the Galgorm Castle cut but despite his struggles on the main European Tour this year, he showed improved form at the Ballymena venue this week.

Michael Hoey
Michael Hoey was three behind Fox after nine holes on Sunday but lost ground on the back nine

Auckland native Fox's only previous Challenge Tour win came at last year's Le Vaudreuil event in France.

However, Sunday's triumph now moves him into the top 10 in the current Challenge Tour rankings and on course to claim to clinch the top-15 spot which would guarantee promotion to the main European Tour at the end of this season.

Fox took control of the tournament by going out in 29 after following an opening birdie with an eagle two at the driveable par-four second.

A bogey at the third didn't derail the New Zealander as he carded three straight birdies from the fifth and also picked up a shot at the ninth.

Four more gains as the 10th, 11th, 14th and 15th moved Fox to 20 under par and a bogey at the 16th was no major crisis given that he still had a four-shot lead with two holes left.

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Ryan Fox hails NI Open after closing 62 seals triumph at Galgorm Castle

Defending champion Frenchman Clement Sordet shared sixth spot with halfway leader Wil Besserling, one ahead of Hoey.

Meath man Damien McGrane shared ninth place alongside England's Tom Lewis on 11 under with Northern Ireland's Chris Selfridge in the group a further shot back after a closing 69.

Clandeboye man Jonathan Caldwell finished in in a share of 36th spot on six under after a 69 with Warrenpoint amateur Colm Campbell (73) in joint 52nd-spot on two under and Cormac Sharvin tied 65th after a second straight 74.

The final day at Galgorm Castle included an albatross at the closing hole by England's former Walker Cup player Stiggy Hodgson as he holed a two iron from 235 yards which led to him finishing in a share of 23rd place after a closing 67.

Northern Ireland Open leaderboard

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