Scotland’s Russell Knox defeated Ryan Fox of New Zealand on the first playoff hole to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin GC.
Russell Knox wins Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Russell Knox holed two superb putts on the 18th green at Ballyliffin GC to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. The Scotsman claimed his second European Tour victory.
Knox holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole at Ballyliffin to set a clubhouse total of 14-under-par. That number was matched by New Zealand’s Ryan Fox when he missed a putt for a three on the home hole.
The pair returned to the 18th tee to decide the title via a sudden-death playoff. Both men found the green in regulation but Fox looked to be in the better position, within 15-feet of the cup.
Knox though had played into almost the same spot he had found on the 18th green in normal play. He knew the line from there and duly rolled his birdie putt home. When Fox missed his effort, the title and a cheque for nearly €1,000,000 went to Knox.
“To make a putt like that, it’s a dream come true,” he said. “It’s so hard to win tournaments. The way I managed to do it, holing those two long putts, it was just my time. I’m just lucky to win one of these massive events, so thank you very much to Rolex.”
Although it was a disappointing end to the event for Fox, there was consolation. Not only did he pick up over €650,000 but he also secured himself a start in The Open Championship at Carnoustie. Fox qualified for The Open in the same way last season.
“I hit two great putts on 18, one grazed the edge and one came back at me,” he said. “I’m happy, I hit the shots I wanted to down the stretch, felt comfortable out there and it was close. 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 Russ, he played some great golf today.”
England’s Andy Sullivan and Zander Lombard of South Africa were the other two men to claim Open berths at Ballyliffin. They finished tied for sixth with Thorbjorn Olesen and Danny Willett.
Defending champ Jon Rahm closed with rounds of 67 and 66 on the weekend to climb the leaderboard and finish in a tie for fourth with 54-hole leader Eric Van Rooyen of South Africa. Rahm’s fellow Spaniard Jorge Campillo signed off with a superb 65 to end the week in third place.
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation
Ballyliffin GC, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Purse: $7,000,000 Par: 72
1 Russell Knox (Sco) 71 69 68 66 274 €998,425
2 Ryan Fox (NZL) 67 69 70 68 274 €665,614
3 Jorge Campillo (Esp) 70 71 69 65 275 €375,011
T4 Jon Rahm (Esp) 74 69 67 66 276 €276,765
T4 Eric Van Rooyen (RSA) 71 65 66 74 276 €276,765
T6 Zander Lombard (RSA) 70 68 72 69 279 €168,335
T6 Thorbjorn Olesen (Den) 72 69 70 68 279 €168,335
T6 Andy Sullivan (Eng) 73 72 65 69 279 €168,335
T6 Danny Willett (Eng) 68 70 69 72 279 €168,335
T10 Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 71 70 68 71 280 €115,019
T10 Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 68 68 73 71 280 €115,019
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage