Russell Knox Back Inside OWGR Top 50 After Irish Open Win


Russell Knox rolled in two wonderful, near-identical putts on both the 72nd and first play-off hole to claim the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Ryan Fox of New Zealand reacts to a putt on the 18th green during the final round of the Irish Open at Ballyliffin Golf Club.

Fox went ahead with a birdie at the 17th, but Knox drained an fantastic 40-footer on the 18th play-off after Fox missed from within 10 feet for an outright victory in regulation play. I've done it before in the USA on the last hole, 12 feet.

"I hit two great putts on 18 which grazed the edge and one came back at me", said Fox.

"I'm excited and slightly nervous because Carnoustie is a bit of a beast".

"It was a little straighter than the other one, but it was tracking on a nice line and for it to go in, I feel bad for Ryan, but I guess it was my time".

Na, who is a real Marmite golfer (you either hate his slow play or you love the determination he demonstrates) birdied six of his first 10 holes to open up a big lead over Kraft on the Old White TPC in West Virginia.

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While missing out on the ultimate goal, Fox did get a handy consolation prize, with his second place finish booking him a spot in the Open Championship - his third appearance in the last four years.

Russell Knox's hopes of making this year's European Ryder Cup have received a significant boost with victory in the Irish Open.

"I am thrilled to go back to Scotland for two weeks where I grew up", he said. "I hit the shots I wanted to down the stretch".

Fox shot 68 to Knox's 66, with Jorge Campillo going round in 65 to finish one off the pace at 13 under.

As if he required any more motivation going into the Scottish Open, which tees off at Gullane at Thursday, and at next week's Open Championship at Carnoustie, then there it is, wrapped up in blue and gold.

"To make the Ryder Cup team, you have to win tournaments", Knox said. When Knox couldn't birdie the favourable par-five 17th, Fox struck, hitting the green in two and safely two-putting to take a one-stroke lead into the final hole.

'I do fancy my chances at Carnoustie, actually, but I'm not being greedy right now, ' he said. Unfortunately, there were no Irish involved with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry finishing on -2, some 12 shots off the winning total.