Irish Open: Russell Knox beats Ryan Fox in play-off at Ballyliffin
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 09/07/18 7:41am
Russell Knox secured his first victory since 2016 with a dramatic victory in a play-off at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
The world No 87 holed a 40-footer at the last to close a six-under 66 and get to 14 under alongside Fox, before nailing a birdie from a similar distance at the first extra play-off hole to take the title.
Jorge Campillo posted a round-of-the-day 65 to grab third spot, with defending champion Jon Rahm a further stroke back alongside Erik van Rooyen after birdieing his final four holes.
"It's tough to describe how amazing this feels," Knox said at the presentation ceremony. "Unbelievable. I can't believe I'm holding this (trophy).
The Scot began the day six shots off the pace but eagled the fourth and added further birdies at the sixth and 10th, as Van Rooyen's overnight lead slipped away with three bogeys in a four-hole stretch from the sixth.
Knox cancelled out a missed par-save at the 11th by picking up a shot at the next to move into a four-way tie for the lead, only for Fox to follow a 15-foot birdie at the 12th with a two-putt gain at the par-five next to move two ahead.
A two-shot swing saw Fox bogey the 14th as Knox tapped in for birdie at the 15th, as Campillo nailed a 40-footer at the 17th and Van Rooyen picked up a shot at the 13th to also get to 13 under.
Fox made a two-putt birdie at the 17th but failed to add another from eight-feet at the last to set the clubhouse target at 14 under, which Knox matched by holing from long range at the par-four 18th.
The players returned to the 18th for a sudden-death play-off and both found the green in two, with Knox converting from almost the exact same spot as his previous hole to snatch the victory.
Fox's runner-up finish saw him claim one three qualifying spots for The Open, given to three players in the top 10 and not already exempt, with Andy Sullivan and Zander Lombard taking the other places after finishing tied-sixth.
Rory McIlroy posted four birdies in a six-hole stretch around the turn on his way to a closing 71, ending the week 12 off the pace, with Graeme McDowell in the group a further stroke back.