McIlroy looks on the bright side ahead of British Open

Tanya Simon
July 12, 2018

Russell Knox set his sights on Open Championship glory and Ryder Cup redemption after defeating Ryan Fox in a play-off to win the £5.3million Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in truly extraordinary fashion.

After moving day, South African Erik Van Rooyen was in control with a four shot lead heading into the final round.

Earlier, the Scot had holed a 40-footer on the same green for a birdie that turned out to be good enough to tie Fox at 14 under par.

Fox still looked the likely victor as Knox's approach from rough ended up 40 feet from the pin but incredibly the Scot holed which left the New Zealand needing a closing birdie to win.

Campillo finished the first nine on -6 - with Van Rooyen bogeying on 11th to leave the lead at two strokes.

"I'm excited and slightly nervous because Carnoustie is a bit of a beast".

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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".

It also offers some redemption on Irish soil after the 33-year-old finished second to Rory McIlroy at this event in 2016.

For Fox, while he will have been gutted to come up short, he's assured of a place at the Open Championship in two weeks time at Carnoustie, as will the victor. Andy Sullivan and Zander Lombard joined Fox in claiming an Open qualifying spot after finishing in a tie for sixth. The son of former All Black outhalf, Grant Fox, had a chance to win the top prize on his final hole but just didn't hole out from 10 feet.

All three hunted down Van Rooyen.

"It's always nice to play links golf in the run up to an Open and I love the challenge of it".

Fox once again was the closer of the two, but 40 feet seemed to be Knox's distance as he drained his for birdie, and Fox's putt horse-shoed around the hole. It was his second tour title. The leading four players not already exempt from the top-12 finishers qualified. I mean, how do you say you tried too hard? "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". That would certainly make up for his disappointment at missing the last Ryder Cup, when he came so close on his own merits, but then failed to get one of the captain's wild card picks.

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