Perez beats Fox in 4-hole playoff, wins Dutch Open
CROMVOIRT, Netherlands (AP) — Victor Perez of France birdied the fourth hole of a dramatic playoff with Ryan Fox to win the Dutch Open on Sunday for the second European tour title of his career.
They switched to the 17th hole at Bernardus Golf having matched each other stroke for stroke on three trips down No. 18 in the playoff, with Perez holing birdie putts from 15 feet and then 30 feet to keep it alive.
On the fourth playoff hole, Perez rolled in another long-range putt on the 17th green and Fox missed his.
“There’s a fair amount of fortune, I’ve got to be honest with myself, holing all those long putts in the playoff,” Perez said.
“It’s hard to put into words because it’s a long day and Ryan was flying for a while. We didn’t even really think we had a chance.
Fox looked certain to win in regulation when he chipped in for a birdie at No. 11, holed from 80 feet for an eagle at No. 12 and then holed from 45 feet for birdie at No. 14 to establish a three-shot lead.
However, the 35-year-old New Zealander drove into water on the 18th, missed the green with his approach, and duffed his fourth shot into a greenside bunker to run up a double-bogey seven.
Playing two groups behind, Perez holed from 35 feet for birdie on the 17th to move into a share of the lead on 13 under par and hit a superb approach into the last, but missed from seven feet for what would have been a winning birdie.
“It’s almost impossible to predict what’s going to happen in golf,” Perez said, “guys come out of nowhere and win tournaments, guys take huge leads. You just have to focus on you and not look at the boards and I was just fortunate to fall on the good side today.”
Perez, Fox and Adrian Meronk, who finished a shot outside the playoff, secured the three places on offer for the British Open Championship via its qualifying series.
Meronk’s closing 4-under 68 included a remarkable par save on the eighth, the Pole taking off his shoes and socks to wade into the water surrounding the green. Meronk did well to splash his second shot on to the green and then holed from 45 feet for an unlikely three.
Perez shot 69 and Fox had a 68.
England’s Matt Wallace, who began the day tied for the lead with Perez, shot a closing 72 to share fifth place with Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg.
Perez’s only previous win was at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2019.
More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports