Knox eyes Open title after Irish glory

Ruben Hill
July 9, 2018

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.

Fox still looked the likely victor as Knox's approach from rough ended up 40 feet from the pin but incredibly the Scot holed which left the New Zealand needing a closing birdie to win.

Knox then appeared to have an uphill battle in overtime after missing the fairway on the first extra hole, but he quickly turned the tables on Fox by rolling in a almost identical putt from long range for birdie on the 18th green.

Fox was unfortunate since Knox holed a couple of 40-footers on the same green to snatch the $1.16 million first-place prize and his second European Tour title after the 2015 WGC-HSBC Champions. I'm so happy. I said [on the play-off hole] we've already made this putt, it can't be too hard.

Fox makes his third appearance in the Open Championship after missing the cut at Royal Birkdale past year and finishing T-49 at St. Andrews in 2015. I'm not being greedy right now but you never know.

Sullivan will make his fourth consecutive appearance in the game's oldest major.

Asked if he felt capable now of going on to win The Open, he said: "I do actually".

Knox is set to climb into the world's top 50, having tied for second place at the French Open last week, and is fifth in the Race to Dubai.

"I drove it great, gave myself plenty of chances, and had one putt been one inch either way". I hit two great putts on 18 and one grazed the edge and one came back at me so I'm happy.

"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".

Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox hits the "perfect link shot" on the 7th hole. The Scotsman managed to chase it up to the green, but Fox's approach was much closer by virtue of his easier shot.

Fox, who finished fourth at last year's Irish Open, had two birdies and two bogeys on his outward nine before coming home with three birdies, including two in his last three holes to grab a share of the lead after 36 holes.

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

The highest of those was host Rory McIlroy, who shot a 71 to finish in the top 30 on -2.

McIlroy will head into the Open Championship at Carnoustie in ten days' time in a positive frame of mind after completing his competitive preparations and saw signs of progress with his problematic putting with four birdies in six holes around the turn. Sometimes when I get too square with my feet, my upper body can get a little bit left and every putt I was missing was to the left.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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