Russell Knox uses incredible clutch putting to win Irish Open in playoff


"To make that team, you have to win tournaments".

Fox saw his 12-footer to match the Scot's birdie spin out of the hole, leaving Knox as the champion - the first player flying the Saltire to claim this prize since Colin Montgomerie at Fota Island in 2001.

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.

The duo were locked together on 14 under after 72 holes, with the fourth Rolex Series event of the season producing unforgettable drama at Ballyliffin Golf Club.

And it was McIlroy who presented the gleaming Waterford crystal trophy to Knox after McIlroy failed to make any impression all week in not managing to break 70 and end T28th. "The putts have been going in the last couple of weeks, I had a great feeling on the greens and I just kept going".

Paul Dunne and Graeme McDowell carded rounds of 71 as they finished on even par for the tournament. Obviously it seems like I've always tried too hard. "This is a heck of a start but I feel I have more to go".

Fox and Knox looking set for two-man play-off.

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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.

Not wanting to miss out, Knox hit a monster birdie to take a share of the four way lead.

The only disappointment was that there was no Irish challenge near the top of the leaderboard over the last two days.

Then in celebration to mirror his 2016 Travelers success, albeit not hurling his cap into the air, Knox clearly delighted in seeing a fifth birdie of his round disappear into the cup.

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.

Lombard and Sullivan were at nine under alongside Thorbjørn Olesen and Danny Willett, a shot clear of French duo Raphaël Jacquelin and Matthieu Pavon.