20 Jul 2017

Fox and Hendry tee off in Open

7:03 pm on 20 July 2017

There'll be twice as much reason to keep track of the British Open this week with two New Zealanders qualifying for golf's third major of the year.

Ryan Fox.

Ryan Fox. Photo: Photosport

Auckland golfers Ryan Fox and Michael Hendry are part of the 156 strong field that'll take to the hallowed fairways of Royal Birkdale just north of Liverpool.

It's the first major for Hendry who has had a successful 2017 season to date, his best result coming at the New Zealand Open when he became the first New Zealander in 14 years to win it.

The 37-year-old admits the British Open is a step up in competition from what he's used to, but he takes great confidence from his win at the national open.

"You know it's one that I target every year as an event that I want to do my very best at

so even though the prize money is a tenth and the crowds are a lot smaller, for me it's just as intense because i want to do just as well."

Auckland golfer Michael Hendry.

Auckland golfer Michael Hendry. Photo: Photosport

For fellow Auckland professional and long time friend, Ryan Fox, his attitude towards this week is much the same as Hendry's.

Fox has finished fourth, sixth and fourth in his last three tournaments on golf's second biggest tour - the European Tour.

His recent run of form has even taken him by surprise, given at the start of the year he was worried his game was so bad, he might lose his status on the tour.

"Two weeks ago i was planning on having a week off to move house so to be playing a major is awesome and a great achievement.

I don't really have any expectations, I have nothing to lose, my form has been pretty good and I'd like to keep it going," Fox said.

In Fox's first major appearance at the Open two years ago, he finished in a tie for 49th at St Andrews.

The 30-year-old quietly admits he'd like to finish a little closer to the top of the leader board this time around, especially given Royal Birkdale is just a few kilometres across the water from Sir Bob Charles' famous Open victory at Royal Lytham and St Annes back in 1963.

It won't be easy though, the British Open field is once again stacked with the world's best golfers, American's Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler are odds on favourites to take the title out while young Spanish rising star Jon Rahm is also in red hot form.

The tournament gets underway later tonight.