Russell Knox wins Irish Open at Ballyliffin

Russell Knox celebrates his putt on the 18th at Ballyliffin Golf Club. Picture: PA
Russell Knox celebrates his putt on the 18th at Ballyliffin Golf Club. Picture: PA
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Russell Knox holed two huge birdie putts on the 18th green at Ballyliffin to pull off a dramatic victory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.

The 33-year-old rolled in a 40-footer at the 72nd hole for a closing 66 to post the clubhouse target of 14-under-par, which was then matched by Kiwi Ryan Fox (68).

Knox did well to find the green with his second from an awkward lie at the first extra hole in a sudden-death play-off before converting an almost identical putt.

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.

The stunning success came seven days after Knox had finished joint-second behind Alex Noren in the French Open at Le Golf National outside Paris.

He’s now picked up more than £1.2 million in eight days, boosting his hopes of making a return to France in September for the Ryder Cup.

It was the first Scottish success in a regular European Tour event since Richie Ramsay won the Hassan Trophy in Morocco in March 2015.

The win is likely to lift Knox inside the world’s top 50 as he prepares to return to home soil for next week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane.

Knox had finished second to McIlroy in the 2016 Irish Open at The K Club after the host produced two magnificent blows over the closing holes.