Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Russell Knox claims Irish Open victory with incredible finish

Russell Knox claims Irish Open victory with incredible finish

McIlroy expressed delight at the success of this week's Ballyliffin event after the European Tour's decision to bring the tournament to the Donegal venue for the first time.

The 33-year-old rolled in a 40-footer at the 72nd hole for a closing 66 to post the clubhouse target of 14-under-par, which was then matched by Kiwi Ryan Fox (68).

The New Zealander had that putt for the title but missed on the high side and the pair were left to go back up the last.

The pair played the same hole again, with Knox holing from an nearly identical position while Fox missed his birdie chance from about 12 feet.

"I would love to win the Scottish Open as well and for me to be playing in the Open at Carnoustie, one of the best courses in the world, I'm very happy".

Rory McIlroy believes his game showed signs of progress during the weekend at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, giving him confidence ahead of The Open. "These things happen. People hole putts to win tournaments".

"I had the apple in my hand... and I just saw someone at the last minute", said Knox. "I feel bad for Ryan but I guess it was my time".

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"I feel like I've made some improvements over the last couple of days on that and at least I know I'm trending in the right direction heading into the Open Championship".

"I hit the shots I wanted to down the stretch, felt comfortable out there and it was close".

South African Van Rooyen entered the day with a four-shot lead and while he birdied the fourth, bogeys at sixth, seventh and ninth meant he had been caught by Campillo at the turn.

"I thought my chances had slipped on 17 to be honest, failing to make birdie", Knox said.

"I hit two great putts on 18, one grazed the edge and one came back at me", Fox said afterwards.

The victory earned Knox a prize of nearly £890,000 and his first win since the Travelers Championship in the USA in 2016 as he moves up to fifth place in the Race to Dubai standings. The leading four players not already exempt from the top-12 finishers qualified. I was there too long and was starting to see all the spots you shouldn't hit it in - and that's where I was hitting it!

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