Knox eyes Open title after Irish glory

Russell Knox celebrates holing the winning putt on the 18th hole

Russell Knox celebrates holing the winning putt on the 18th hole

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

It was a wonderful conclusion to a tournament that was hugely successful.

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.

Signs of progress at the Irish Open over the weekend put former world number one Rory McIlroy in a positive frame of mind before next week's British Open at Carnoustie.

McIlroy has spent the last four years as tournament host of the Irish Open, during which time it has become part of the lucrative Rolex Series and seen its prize fund rise to $7m (£5.3m). "These things happen. People hole putts to win tournaments. The putts have been going in the last couple of weeks, I had a great feeling on the greens and I just kept going".

"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". "Fortunately I've done it before, so I knew I could do it".

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"But I was able to hit a good shot and get on the green, which I was thrilled with".

Spaniard Jorge Campillo finished one shot out of the play-off after a closing 65, one shot clear of countryman and defending champion Jon Rahm and overnight leader Erik van Rooyen.

With the win came a cheque for $998,425, and some very valuable Ryder Cup points.

While disappointed at not winning Fox still earns almost $1.5 million for finishing runner-up and will tee off in the third major of the year the Open at Carnoustie in two weeks time.

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. A 30-footer on the eighth and another birdie on the ninth had him in a share of the lead but it would soon be a four-way tie.

The consoloation for Fox is that he did claim one of the Open qualifying spots given to three players in the top 10 and not already exempt. I felt a lot better about it so that was great.

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