Dead-eyed Knox beats Fox in Irish Open playoff

Lynette Rowe
July 12, 2018

After rallying to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in a playoff, Russell Knox is back inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in almost a year.

Fox and Knox produced as many twists as Dr Seuss envisioned, going back and forth in a thrilling final day, and while it was Knox (stay with me) coming out on top, Fox didn't have many complaints as he claimed second and the $1.1 million New Zealand dollars which came with it (€ 665,614).

World number 87 Knox, 33, won by holing a 40-foot birdie after knocking in an nearly identical putt to card a six-under 66 and force the extra hole.

After Fox had failed to convert a short birdie chance on the last hole of regulation play, Knox then remarkably found the target from long range once again when the pair returned to the 18th in a play-off.

Fox eventually edged ahead with a birdie at the 17th, but Knox would not go away and that sensational 40-footer on the last proved good enough for a play-off after Fox missed from inside 10 feet for outright victory.

'I've already holed this one, so how hard can it be?' said Knox, jokingly, to his caddy James Williams. I wasn't really aiming, I was just sort of reacting to the line. I feel for Ryan, but it was clearly my time'.

"To make a putt like that, it's a dream come true", the 33-year-old told europeantour.com.

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"I hit the shots I wanted to down the stretch, felt comfortable out there and it was close".

Six shots off the lead at the start of play, Knox made the ideal start with an eagle at the par five fourth, where his fabulous approach finished 8ft from the flag.

Spain's Jorge Campillo was third outright with defending champion Jon Rahm sharing fifth alongside 54-hole leader Erik van Rooyen.

The Scot will move back into the world's top 50 as a result of a win which boosts his hopes of a first Ryder Cup appearance in September.

He secured his Open Championship berth by sharing second at last week's French Open and now heads home for next week's Scottish Open at Gullane before teeing up at Carnoustie.

"I thought my chances had slipped on 17 to be honest, failing to make birdie", Knox said. But I hit some great shots, and the putter was just hot.

Rory McIlroy finished his four-year stint as tournament host by finishing in a share of 28th place on two under par after a closing 71.

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