Top four finish for Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox at Scottish Open

When is a hole in one not a hole in one?

When you've fired your tee shot into a gorse bush, as Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox did early in his final round in the Scottish Open, on the way to a creditable fourth-equal finish.

Fox produced a rare ace on the 169-yard sixth hole at Dundonald Links with his provisional ball, which meant he wrote a three on his scorecard.

The perfect shot was still well worthy of celebration as a beaming Fox high-fived his caddy and playing partner on the walk to the green.

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"I followed probably the worst shot I've hit as a pro with probably the best shot I've hit as a pro," Fox said on the European Tour website.

"I can't lie, I hit the first one straight out of the hosel [socket of the club head] and straight in the bushes and re-teed it with a wedge and hit a perfect shot. I was just happy to see it somewhere near the green, it dropped in and it limits the damage."

Fox was relieved no one found his first ball, which would have meant he had to play it and the hole in one wouldn't count. "I don't think anyone saw it, thankfully, I think it landed in a nice big gorse bush."

He had reason to smile after his fourth-equal finish in the European Tour event on Monday (NZT), his final leadup to this week's Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

Fox's confidence will be strong after his final round of two-under-par 70 left him eight-under for the tournament, five shots off co-leaders Rafa Cabrera Bello and Callum Shinkwin. Cabrera Bello won in a playoff.

The New Zealander was in lofty company in fourth spot, tied with former Open champion Padraig Harrington, American Matt Kuchar, Englishman Anthony Wall and Australian Andrew Dodt.

​Fox jumped into contention with a third round 69 lifting him into a tie for fifth.

The 30-year-old hit five birdies and three bogeys in the final round, confirming his third consecutive top-10 finish on the European Tour.

His performance also lifted him into the top 100 of the Official World Golf rankings for the first time.

He sits in 95th position, while compatriot Danny Lee is 77th.

 - Stuff