Ryan Fox's dream of playing in his first US Open almost didn’t happen.
After a strong finish at the Italian Open, Fox, among many others, quickly made his way to the local airport to try and catch a flight back to the UK, where he was then planning to make his trip to Walton Heath for US Open qualifying.
"We ended up having a couple of flights delayed and just made our connection from Italy through Frankfurt, so literally just made the connection there, but I figured the golf clubs might not have made it," said Fox.
"We got to London at 11 o'clock and thankfully the golf clubs turned up and we got back to our place in London at about quarter past 12 and straight to bed for a drive down to Walton Heath on Monday morning."
There, Fox managed to qualify for his fourth major championship and his first US Open. A whirlwind few days but with just reward. From 12 events this year, the Kiwi has three top 10 finishes and now feels at home in the most elite tournaments of the year.
"Everything just feels a bit more comfortable and that doesn't mean I'm going to play well or anything like that. But it's nice just to be able to enjoy the experience a little bit more rather than, I think, my first couple the nerves are there and everything feels like it's going so fast. This week I'm just here to play another golf tournament," Fox explained.
Fox has taken the same qualifying route as Michael Campbell did when he famously won the US Open at Pinehurst - just New Zealand’s second major victory. He’s hoping it may well be a good omen.
"I posted on Instagram when I made it and Cambo commented on it saying, 'oh good to see you did it now just do what I did.' That's quite cool," Fox said with a smile.
"If I can half emulate what Cambo did in 2005 I’ll be happy, but, you know, there's been plenty of Cinderella stories around and hopefully it's my week."
Fox's three previous major appearances have seen him make the cut twice - once at the Open Championship and once at the PGA Championship. Last year’s appearance at the PGA impressed, heading into the final round with a chance at a top 10 finish, only to drop down the leaderboard. But, he enters this week in New York confident with his game.
"I know if I play up to my level I can there or thereabouts on Sunday. I've kind of proved that to myself at the PGA last year," he said.
"Probably the occasion, the heat, the tiredness and everything got the better of me, but there was proof there I could compete with these guys week in week out and I’d love to give myself that chance this week."
Fox tees off at 4:30am NZT on Friday morning while fellow Kiwi Tim Wilkinson will tee off at the earlier time of 12:46am (NZT).