Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox maintains lead at European Tour's Irish Open

Kiwi golfer Ryan Fox maintains lead at European Tour's Irish Open

During the final round of the European Tour's Irish Open, Knox needed to sink about a 50-foot putt for birdie in order to force a potential playoff with Ryan Fox.

The New Zealander narrowly failed to win the year's fourth Rolex Series event when he missed two birdie putts from inside 15 feet on the 18th hole.

World number 87 Knox, 33, won by holing a 40-foot birdie after knocking in an nearly identical putt to card a six-under 66 and force the extra hole.

He almost managed it - a booming drive and delicate approach left Fox needing to hole an eight-footer to win his first title on the European Tour, but past the right edge it skimmed, leaving Fox stunned, and giving Knox a second chance as the pair returned to the 18th hole for a playoff. I'm so happy. I said [on the play-off hole] we've already made this putt, it can't be too hard. I'm not being greedy right now but you never know. "I have to qualify by right", Knox said.

"He also sent me a couple of videos of my body language after all the missed putts this week", laughed the four-time major victor.

Sullivan will make his fourth consecutive appearance in the game's oldest major. "The adrenalin just comes out and, I mean, it's the best feeling in the world to be honest".

"But I was able to hit a good shot and get on the green, which I was thrilled with. Had one putt been an inch either way I'd still be out there now or even with the trophy in my hand but well done to Russell, he played some great golf".

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"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".

Fox, who had a 68, secured a place in the British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, later this month.

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

It catapulted him to eighth in the European Ryder Cup standings before this week's Scottish Open and the Open Championship at Carnoustie next week.

Spain's Campillo finished just a shot outside the play-off after a closing 65, with compatriot Jon Rahm putting up an incredible defence of the title.

There are plenty of big names trailing in Fox's wake, including Rory McIlroy wh is tied for 30th at one-under par. 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 felt a lot better about it so that was great.

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