8am Round-Up: Russell Knox on way up again in world rankings

Russell Knox has halted his recent slip down the world rankings after just missing out on a top-10 finish in the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head in South Carolina.

Russell Knox finished joint-11th behind winner Wesley Bryan in the RBC Heritage in South Carolina. Picture: AP
Russell Knox finished joint-11th behind winner Wesley Bryan in the RBC Heritage in South Carolina. Picture: AP

The Scot had dropped from 18th in the standings at the start of the year to 27th after missing four cuts in six events, including an early exit from The Masters.

But he’s back up a spot in the latest rankings after claiming a share of 11th behind Wesley Bryan in the Hilton Head event.

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Knox, who tied for second in the same tournament 12 months ago, shot rounds of 70-66-72-68 for an eight-under-par 276 total.

The 31-year-old chipped in for a birdie at the eighth in the final round before getting up and down from a back bunker to save par at the last.

He was disappointed, though, about a bogey at the par-5 15th after having a 64-degree wedge in his hands from just 93 yards for his third shot.

“I was right in the middle of the fairway and just made a bad shot,” he told golfbytourmiss.com. “That’s the kind of stuff I need to clean up and I will work on that aspect of my game this week.”

Martin Laird finished joint-64th after closing with a 75 for a one-over-par 285 aggregate.

Bryan became the first South Carolinian to win the event after he signed off with a 67 to pip former world No 1 Luke Donald by a shot.

“This is as good as it gets,” said Bryan. “It’s one that I grew up dreaming on the practice green late at night when I was a kid, like this putt’s to win the Heritage. And to get it done here is one of the coolest experiences ever.”

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Stephen Ames took route 66 to his first Champions Tour victory as he landed the Mitsubishi Electric Classic in Georgia.

Playing in his 49th event on the over-50s circuit, the Canadian landed his breakthrough success in style with a bogey-free six-under-par closing round in Duluth.

With a 15-under-par 201 total, Ames finished four shots ahead of Champions Tour No 1 Bernhard Langer (65), with Fred Funk, David Frost and Brandt Jobe all a stroke further back.

“It’s fun, that’s for sure,” Ames told pgatour.com. “It’s the same feeling as any tour that you win on. It’s a thrill, it’s a real thrill right now.”

His best previous finish was joint-fourth at last year’s Tucson Conquistadores Classic.

Flying the Saltire on his own as Colin Montgomerie recovers from ankle ligament damage, Sandy Lyle finished joint-50th on level-par following rounds of 72-71-73.

Former Scottish Open champion Edoardo Molinari claimed his first European Tour title in seven years in the most dramatic of fashions at the Trophée Hassan II.

The 36-year-old beat Irishman Paul Dunne in a play-off after the Italian carded an eagle on the final hole of regulation play to force extra holes.

In an enthralling finale at Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat, Molinari came racing through the pack on the back nine with two birdies and two eagles, as Dunne struggled to hold onto the two-shot lead he carried into the final round.

But it was Molinari’s heroics at the final hole which proved the real turning point, sinking a 25 foot putt for what was the only three on the tough par five 18th all day to force extra holes courtesy of a five under 68 and a nine under total.

Both players struggled on the first extra hole but, following an imaginative putt from the first cut of rough off the back of the 18th green, Molinari left himself with an easier par chance than Dunne.

When the 24 year old from Wicklow rolled his eight-footer past on the left side, Molinari was left to knock in the winning putt for a third European Tour victory.

The first two both came in the Home of Golf in 2010, when he won the Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond and the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

The latter secured one of Colin Montgomere’s wild cards for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, where Molinari played on the same team as his brother, Francesco.

It’s been a battle since then, though, with Molinari being hit with a nasty injury and this return to winning ways only came after he was forced to regain his card twice through Qualifying School.

“It’s fantastic,” said Molinari. “I’ve been through some very hard times with injuries and bad form. To be able to win this week deletes a lot of bad memories and hopefully I can keep going down this road.”

David Drysdale finished top Scot in joint-19th, closing with a 71 for a two-under total, one shot ahead of Duncan Stewart (73).

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Carly Booth is sitting 11th in this season’s LET Order of Merit after chalking up her first top-10 finish in two years.

Booth, a two-time winner on the circuit in 2012, claimed a share of eighth spot in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco after a closing 71 saw her end up one-under at Royal Dar Es Salam.

She finished seven shots behind Klara Spilková, who became the first Czech player to win on the circuit after producing a last-round 66 to pip overnight leader and title favourite Suzann Pettersen (71).

“The hardest challenge is always your ego. I just won for myself, because I felt no ego,” said the 22-year-old from Prague after coming from four strokes behind Pettersen to make her big breakthrough in a tournament she first played in as a 16-year-old . “I can’t believe it. It’s just great.”

Booth, who earned €10,800 for her effort, leapfrogged Kelsey Macdonald to finish as top Scot after the Nairn player closed with a 76 - nine shots more than her round on Saturday - to slip from a share of eighth overnight to joint-19th on two-over.