Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Irish Open: Russell Knox edges Ryan Fox in play-off to take title

Rory Mc Ilroy Not Losing Sleep Over Not Winning a Major Since 2014 Rory Mc Ilroy Not Losing Sleep Over Not Winning a Major Since 2014
Cary Erickson | 09 July, 2018, 14:39

During the final round of the European Tour's Irish Open, Knox needed to sink about a 50-foot putt for birdie in order to force a potential playoff with Ryan Fox. But Knox rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt to close out a 6-under 66 and draw even with Fox at 14 under, then watched as Fox missed a short birdie putt of his own that would have won the tournament outright.

And when the players returned to the 18th for a sudden-death play-off the situation was remarkably repeated, Knox holing from an nearly identical place for birdie before Fox saw his attempt catch the edge of the hole and spin out.

The world number 87, who could move up as many as 40 places tomorrow, shot a six under par final round 66 to tee up a play-off against New Zealander Fox, before holing a 40 foot putt in the first play-off hole to seal success. I'm so happy. I said to my caddie (on the play-off hole) we've already made this putt, it can't be too hard.

Andy Sullivan and Zander Lombard joined Fox in claiming an Open qualifying spot after finishing in a tie for sixth.

"I feel like I've made some improvements over the last couple of days on that and at least I know I'm trending in the right direction heading into the Open Championship".

"I thought my chances had slipped on 17 to be honest, failing to make birdie", Knox said.

"He also sent me a couple of videos of my body language after all the missed putts this week", laughed the four-time major victor. I hit two great putts on 18 and one grazed the edge and one came back at me so I'm happy.

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"I have struggled with my putting for a long time but I have been working hard with my coach back home, just visualising more, and it was one of the best putting weeks I have had". "I have to qualify by right", Knox said.

In the end, it wasn't to be, after a final round where Fox was in the driver's seat on two occasions.

"Look, I'm happy and it's a bloody nice consolation to get into The Open Championship".

Jorge Campillo's seven-under round saw him leap to 13-under, one shot behind Fox and Knox, defending champion Jon Rahm left his bid too late and finished a further shot back, while Erik Van Rooyen's overnight lead of four strokes soon evaporated, as did his title chances as he too signed for a 12-under total.

Rory McIlroy shot 71 and was 2 under overall.

"So it was a good little reminder that attitude is very important out there on the greens and it seemed to help me a lot".