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In-form Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox will spearhead New Zealand’s challenge at golf’s World Cup in Melbourne in November.
The 31-year-old European Tour-based player has been named as New Zealand’s nominated representative for the big-money teams event, and now gets to choose his playing partner.
Presumably that will be Danny Lee, the next highest ranked Kiwi who plies his trade on the US PGA Tour and has retained his card for another year after a solid season. Fox has until September 20 to nominate his playing partner, with the 56 players representing the 28 nations lining up to be finalised on that day.
Fox is having a career-best season on the European Tour, sitting at No 11 on the race to Dubai rankings, and has played in three of the year’s four majors, finishing inside the top 45 of all three.
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However he has experienced a rare hiccup at his latest stop at the KLM Open in the Netherlands, missing the cut with a 36-hole total of one-over 142.
The initial spots in the World Cup field went to the highest ranked available players from the top 28 nations.
The 59th World Cup of Golf will be contested at The Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne from November 21-25, with $US7 million in prize-money on offer – making it the richest event to be staged in Australia.
Already two pairs have been confirmed, with hosts Australia lining up with Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, and the United States represented by Kyle Stanley and Matt Kuchar.
Leishman, who got the spot when Jason Day was unavailable because of the impending birth of his third child, decided on world No 33 Smith as his playing partner ahead of Adam Scott (ranked 44th).
Two-time PGA Tour winner Stanley was the committed player from the US and he choose Kuchar who was a member of the World Cup-winning team of 2011 alongside Gary Woodland.
Defending World Cup champions Denmark have Thorbjørn Olesen as their committed starter.
Committed player list:
1. Australia: Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith
2. England: Tyrrell Hatton
3. United States: Kyle Stanley, Matt Kuchar
4. Thailand: Kiradech Aphibarnrat
5. South Africa: Branden Grace
6. Denmark: Thorbjorn Olesen
7. Japan: Satoshi Kodaira
8. Korea: Byeong Hun An
9. China: Hoatong Li
10. Argentina: Emiliano Grillo
11. Canada: Adam Hadwin
12. Scotland: Russell Knox
13. Belgium: Thomas Pieters
14. Sweden: Alexander Bjork
15. New Zealand: Ryan Fox
16. Venezuela: Jhonattan Vegas
17. Spain: Adrian Otaegui
18. Ireland: Shane Lowry
19. France: Alexander Levy
20. Austria: Bernd Wiesberger
21. India: Shubhankar Sharma
22. Netherlands: Joost Luiten
23. Finland: Mikko Korhonen
24. Mexico: Abraham Ancer
25. Germany: Martin Kaymer
26. Italy: Andrea Pavin
27. Zimbabwe: Scott Vincent
28. Malaysia: Gavin Kyle Green