Ryan Fox leads going into final round of European Tour’s Soudal Open

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New Zealand’s Ryan Fox is on the brink of a second European Tour title this season after snatching the lead in the third round of the Soudal Open in Belgium.

The 35-year-old shot a five-under 66 to be 11 under par overall, one shot ahead of England’s Sam Horsfield.

Ryan Fox of New Zealand acknowledges the crowd after a birdie on the 17th green to take the lead at the Soudal Open in Belgium after the third round.

Warren Little/Getty Images

Ryan Fox of New Zealand acknowledges the crowd after a birdie on the 17th green to take the lead at the Soudal Open in Belgium after the third round.

Fox, who won the biggest title of his career, the Ras Al Khaimah Classic in February, said he “played really sold in the back nine, didn’t miss a shot, holed a couple of putts as well’’.

“I hope I’ve figured something out after a couple of scrappy drives early in the round and felt pretty good from the 10th hole on so hopefully I can take that into tomorrow.

Ryan Fox plays his second shot on the 17th.

Warren Little/Getty Images

Ryan Fox plays his second shot on the 17th.

“On this course, regardless of how you’re playing you feel like you’ve got lots of chances, you can always manage to get a couple of irons in the fairways and still give yourself some wedges and the greens are rolling lovely and you can hole some putts.

“You know you’re going to make some mistakes, which I’ve done, but thankfully I’ve made a few birdies to counteract it.’’

Fox, however, was not getting too carried away, saying he had “been in contention the last couple of weeks as well and not really done much on Sunday, so I’m looking forward to being in the mix again.”

The Aucklander was tied for six on six-under after the first two rounds, two shots behind the leaders.

He began the third round quietly, being at par after the first 10 holes, but then he took just 30 shots during a birdies blitz.

Ryan Fox of New Zealand plays his second shot on the 18th hole.

Warren Little/Getty Images

Ryan Fox of New Zealand plays his second shot on the 18th hole.

Fox birdied the 11th and 12th holes, picked up another on the 15th, and finished with back-to-back birdies.

Horsfield, who had been in a three-way tie for first after the opening two rounds, shot 69 to be one shot ahead of third-placed Yannick Paul (Germany).

Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti shot a day-high 65 to rise 36 places up the leaderboard to a share of fourth, with Oliver Bekker (South Africa), Niall Kearney (Ireland) and Marcel Schneider (Germany). They are at eight under – three shots behind Fox.

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