Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Knox narrowly beats Fox in Irish Open

Russell Knox celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th hole Russell Knox celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th hole
Sidney Guerrero | 11 July, 2018, 20:02

Fox lost in a dramatic playoff to Scotland's Russell Knox who rolled in almost-identical birdie putts from around 40 feet on the 72nd hole and the first playoff hole to win the tournament early Monday (NZT).

The New Zealand golfer Ryan Fox has come agonisingly close to winning his maiden European Tour title, but has secured his place at the British Open.

The New Zealander had that putt for the title but missed on the high side and the pair were left to go back up the last.

Knox and Fox finished the tournament level on 14 under par.

The win is likely to lift Knox inside the world's top 50 as he prepares to return to home soil for next week's Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane. 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.

"I had the apple in my hand... and I just saw someone at the last minute", said Knox.

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"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".

"After the eagle on the fourth, I knew I was in it because I hadn't really missed a shot", Knox said.

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

McIlroy struggled with his putting during the first two rounds but was pleased to see his fortunes improve of the greens on his way to a tied-28th finish.

The overnight leader, South African, Erik Van Rooyen, found the going tough and the pack chipped away at his lead, as he carded a couple of bogeys in his first nine. A 30-footer on the eighth and another birdie on the ninth had him in a share of the lead but it would soon be a four-way tie. "I heard Russ holed a big one on 18 to get in the playoff and he obviously holed a massive one in the playoff as well". But he hit a final-round 66 and Fox a 68 to reach 14 under par, one ahead of Spain's Jorge Campillo.

"To make that team, you have to win tournaments". I've done it before in the US on the last hole, 12 feet. The leading four players not already exempt from the top-12 finishers qualified.

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