Russell Knox loses to Graeme McDowell magic in play-off

Share this article
Have your say

A wonder shot from Graeme McDowell in a play-off ended a brave bid for back-to-back wins by Russell Knox after the Scot dropped a shot at the last in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico.

Needing a 4 at the 72nd hole to waste no time in following up his breakthrough victory in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, Knox found sand from the tee and was then unable to hole a 15-foot par putt for the title.

Finishing with a closing 66 for an 18-under-par total, it meant the 30-year-old found himself in a play-off with McDowell (66) and American Jason Bohn (68) after they both held their nerve to hole testing par putts on the same green.

The shoot-out was settled as the trio returned to the 18th, where McDowell, the 2010 US Open champion, almost holed his approach with a 5-iron from around 200 yards and rolled in a two-footer for the birdie.

Having pulled his approach, Knox was unable to match that - neither could Bohn - but the consolation from another splendid performance by the Inverness man is that he has now leapt into top spot in the 2016 FedEx Cup standings.

He can also expect to jump up from 31st in the world rankings as he prepares to enjoy a well-earned rest after a busy start to the PGA Tour’s wraparound schedule.

For McDowell, it was a welcome return to form after the Ryder Cup star had fallen to 85th in the world rankings after only one top-10 finish in 25 events this year.

“I’ve been dreaming of this day and told myself I’d appreciate when it happened,” said McDowell. “This is a nice step back to where I want to be.”

In an event that was extended by a day due to bad weather, Knox almost holed an eagle chip at the 13th at the resumption, which only lasted three minutes due to the heavens opening above Playa del Carmen.

After a short delay, he knocked in his birdie putt to take the outright lead on 20-under after McDowell started with two pars.

Knox then give that shot back straight away after missing the fairway at the 14th and having to lay up before being unable to take advantage of harnessing the wind whipping in off the Caribbean to hit his tee shot to five feet at the short 15th.

The Scot found himself back in front again when McDowell three-putted the 16th from long range and holed testing par putts at both the 16th and 17th to keep his nose in front.

After finishing in the game in front, McDowell admitted he was resigned to losing out to Knox and said he would have no complaints about that due to the confidence his fellow Brit had been displaying.

But, after pulling his drive at the last then being unable to reach the green, Knox saw his hopes of a dream double disappear as he hit a poor putt for the victory then had no answer to McDowell’s moment of magic in the play-off.