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

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

After finishing second in 2016 when Rory McIlroy pulled off two of the great shots of his career to beat him, Russell Knox knew only too well that astounding golf was invariably required to win 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.

Knox put his second shot in a position nearly identical to the one he found on the 72nd hole and rolled it home again, with Fox missing his own birdie attempt from 12 feet.

Fox went ahead with a birdie at the 17th, but Knox drained an incredible 40-footer on the 18th play-off after Fox missed from within 10 feet for an outright victory in regulation play.

Somehow, he sunk it again, roaring with delight, sending the crowd into raptures, and leaving Fox with a 12-footer to stay alive.

"To make a putt like that, it's a dream come true", he said.

"I remember thinking as soon as I hit it, "oh, I've hit it a bit firm", and it just started tracking and it dropped, unbelievable". Each time Knox responded, with the pair the last ones standing in a round where several players launched bids at the title.

He seemed to have no chance of making this year's team when he arrived at the French Open played over the Ryder Cup course the week before last.


"It maybe wasn't quite as good the last three days, but I putted a lot better today". "I'm happy, I hit the shots I wanted to down the stretch, felt comfortable out there and it was close".

The big Basque came back from a triple bogey seven at the second after driving out of bounds to post a sensational 66 and share fourth with Erik van Rooyen, who shot 74, which left him just two shots outside the play-off on 12-under par.

Defending champion Jon Rahm shot 66 to finish tied fourth with Van Rooyen, while Danny Willett continued his recovery from the depths in tied sixth spot.

Knox now heads to Scotland looking to win the Scottish Open.

"To make that team, obviously you have to win tournaments", added Knox, who climbs to eighth in the qualifying race and back inside the world's top 50.

"But right now, I'm going to enjoy this victory and this tournament".

Wade Ormsby and Adam Bland were Australia's best, both finishing 15 shots behind the victor for a tie of 49th.

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