Ryan Fox falls agonisingly short at Irish Open

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

Scottish golfer Russell Knox rolled in almost-identical birdie putts from around 40 feet (12.2 metres) on the 72nd hole and the first playoff hole to win the Irish Open today.

It was an epic end to a hugely successful event that attracted 94,239 fans over five days - 27,055 yesterday - making it bigger than the preceding Irish Opens at The K Club and Portstewart.

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). I'm so happy. I said to my caddie (on the play-off hole) we've already made this putt, it can't be too hard.

"My goal was to come to Europe for a month and then try and win a tournament, and to finish tied second last week in France and then to win this great tournament, I feel very lucky and unbelievable". "The putts have been going in the last couple of weeks, I had a great feeling on the greens and I just kept going". This is a heck of a start, but I feel like I've got a lot more to go.

"After the eagle on the fourth, I knew I was in it because I hadn't really missed a shot", Knox said.


Knox has also leaped to 8th on the European Ryder Cup "World" points table after being snubbed two years ago for Hazeltine "wildcard" selection.

Van Rooyen's four-stroke lead was cancelled out when Fox birdied the 11th to join the South African on 12 under.

Not wanting to miss out, Knox hit a monster birdie to take a share of the four way lead. A bogey followed on the next but a 20-footer on the 12th had him in the leading group at 12 under. But he hit a final-round 66 and Fox a 68 to reach 14 under par, one ahead of Spain's Jorge Campillo.

The victory earned Knox a prize of nearly £890,000 and his first win since the Travelers Championship in the U.S. in 2016 as he moves up to fifth place in the Race to Dubai standings.

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 read the putt and I was like, just don't aim.

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