Irish Open: Inspired Knox has X factor in dramatic play-off

Russell Knox emerged victorious after a playoff with Ryan Fox on a thrilling afternoon at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open on Sunday.

But luck was not on his side as a birdie putt to win the tournament from eight feet on the final hole jumped offline to send him into a play off with Scotland's Russell Knox who'd holed from 40 feet for a birdie across.

After Fox had failed to convert a short birdie chance on the last hole of regulation play, Knox then remarkably found the target from long range once again when the pair returned to the 18th in a play-off. I've done it before in the US on the last hole, 12 feet.

"I said to James (caddie James Williams): 'Well, we've already made this putt so it can't be too hard'". 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. I feel for Ryan, but it was clearly my time'.

Fox played some brilliant golf over the 72 holes at Ballyliffin after taking the outright lead in day one and being in the mix all week.

Fox, who had the consolation of booking his place in the Open for the second year running in this event, said: "It's a bloody nice consolation".

"I was able to hit a good shot and get on the green, which I was thrilled with", Knox said of the putt.

The duo finished a stroke ahead of Spain's Jorge Campillo, who fired a course-record equalling 65 as defending champion Jon Rahm hit an eventful 66 to share fourth with overnight leader South African Erik van Rooyen. But I hit some great shots, and the putter was just hot.

This weekend the action moves to the Scottish Open at Gullane. He has boosted his chances of making Europe's Ryder Cup team for the match against the United States in France in September.

Then in the play-off he had an nearly similar putt to extend the play-off but his effort lipped out and Russell Knox was able to celebrate a first Irish Open win.

Fox birdied the 12th and put his third to three feet on the par five 13th to lead by two but he bogeyed the next, with Knox joining him at the top after a tap-in at the 15th. I'm not being greedy right now but you never know. Unfortunately, there were no Irish involved with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry finishing on -2, some 12 shots off the winning total.

Vanessa Coleman

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