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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”

Fox again looked a big favorite at the first play-off hole (18) but Knox holed another bomb and his own birdie effort caught the lip and stayed out.

The event's first staging in Co Donegal failed to produce an Irish challenge, but it got a finish, and a victor, worthy of the magnificent setting when the 33-year-old Scot proved to be the man with the X factor as he clinched a career-changing play-off win over New Zealander Ryan Fox.

After opening with a bogey Sunday Fox hit back with a brilliant eagle at the fourth to turn 1-under then, as he had done all week, made a back nine charge with four birdies against a lone dropped shot.

For Fox, who is one of the longest hitters on the European Tour, it is a fifth top-10 finish in Rolex Series events and he has the consolation of securing a place at the Open Championship, 12 months after achieving the same feat at this event.

Jorge Campillo's seven-under round saw him leap to 13-under, one shot behind Fox and Knox, defending champion Jon Rahm left his bid too late and finished a further shot back, while Erik Van Rooyen's overnight lead of four strokes soon evaporated, as did his title chances as he too signed for a 12-under total. But I played the U.S. Open and hopefully nothing can be as hard as that.

All three hunted down Van Rooyen. Indeed, this was Scotland's first male trophy on a major tour since Knox won the Travelers Championship in 2016.

And Knox heads to this week's Aberdeen Standards Investments Scottish Open eager to win at Gullane ahead of teeing-up a week later at Carnoustie.

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.

Two years ago, European captain Darren Clarke opted not to hand US-based Knox a wild card as he instead picked Lee Westwood, Thomas Pieters and Martin Kaymer. Knox then went on to win on the first playoff hole in stunning fashion at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal.

"This is a great start but this is not good enough. My focus is on trying to qualify for the team", added Knox.

The Scotsman defeated New Zealand's Ryan Fox in the first hole of their play-off by holing a 40-foot birdie.

A pitch to 10 feet gave Fox his opportunity but the putt slid by to ensure the play-off.

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy were the only Irish players to finish below par.



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