Russell Knox a '˜little nippy' with a 69 to finish two-over

'Never,' barked Russell Knox in reply to being asked if he'd be back in Europe again this year. He was joking, of course, but the 31-year-old could be forgiven for being desperate to get back to his home in Florida to see some sunshine again.

Scotland's Russell Knox. Picture: SNS

The Scottish No 1, pictured below, said he’d found it a “little nippy” as he closed with a 69 – his best effort of the week – to finish around the top 30 on two-over, joining world No 3 Jordan Spieth on that mark.

“It didn’t rain, that was one good thing,” said Knox, smiling as ever.

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His final salvo contained three birdies but was more pleasing for two other factors. “I had two goals today: one was to par the second [he’d dropped four shots there in the previous three rounds] and the other was to hit the 11th fairway and I managed to check both boxes,” he said.

Next up for Knox is the US PGA Championship at Baltusrol in New Jersey starting on Thursday week. A strong performance there could make the difference in his bid to make the European Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine in September.

“I think he [Darren Clarke] gave up on me,” quipped Knox. “I bumped into him on Saturday, but we haven’t spoken about anything since the potential rookies’ meeting at the Players, which I think is great. I don’t need him to give me a pep talk or to tell me anything. It is up to me. I need to crack the whip and play good. If I don’t, then I don’t deserve to make it.”

Paul Lawrie, one of Clarke’s assistants in Minnesota, signed off with a third straight 74 in the company of Masters champion Danny Willett for a 10-over total. He takes on Jean van de Velde today in a charity challenge at the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre.