Knox socks it to Fox with box-office Irish Open finish


Scottish golfer Russell Knox rolled in almost-identical birdie putts from around 40 feet (12.2 metres) on the 72nd hole and the first playoff hole to win the Irish Open today.

He began the day six shots off the lead but closed with a six-under 66, holing an outrageous 40-footer on the final green to set the target at 14-under, before holing a almost identical putt to break Fox's heart in sudden death.

The 33 year-old held a 45 foot putt on the first extra hole to claim the title, after he had finsihed tied with Ryan Fox of New Zealand on 14 under par.

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Spain's Jorge Campillo was third outright with defending champion Jon Rahm sharing fifth alongside 54-hole leader Erik van Rooyen. The way I managed to do it, holing those two long putts, it was just my time.

New Zealander Ryan Fox appeared to hold the upper hand as he fired his second shot onto the 18th green. I'm so happy. I said (on the play-off hole) we've already made this putt, it can't be too hard.

Knox also qualifies for The Open as a result of his triumph, along with Zander Lombard and Andy Sullivan, who finished joint-sixth and were the highest-placed players not already in the field for Carnoustie. Fox missed a much shorter birdie putt at the final hole.

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Campillo sandwiched a birdie on the 13th with bogeys on the 11th and 16th but an eagle from 40 feet on the 17th had him in a share of the lead, where he was soon joined by Van Rooyen who birdied the 13th. He played some magnificent golf but his putter was stone cold and he will head to Carnoustie desperately hoping to rediscover his touch on the greens.

Knox had finished second to McIlroy in the 2016 Irish Open at The K Club after the host produced two magnificent blows over the closing holes. It was his second tour title. When those putts go in, it's why you play golf. But a top 12 finish at the US Open clearly did wonders for his confidence, and he built on that to post a runner-up finish that was his best in Europe since his breakthrough win in the Champions event in China in 2015.

"Right now I'm enjoying winning this trophy and if I struggle the next two weeks I'm still going to enjoy this moment. The adrenaline just comes out and, I mean, it's the best feeling in the world, to be honest".

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