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DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH OPEN HOSTED BY THE RORY FOUNDATION
Ballyliffin GC, Co. Donegal, Ireland 05 Jul 2018 - 08 Jul 2018
Sunday, 08 July 2018
Day 4 Highlights - Dubai Duty Free Irish Open

Russell Knox holed two incredible putts on the 18th green as he beat Ryan Fox in a play-off to win his second European Tour title at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.

The duo were locked together on 14 under after 72 holes, with the fourth Rolex Series event of the season producing unforgettable drama at Ballyliffin Golf Club.

Scotsman Knox holed from 40 feet for a birdie on the final green in regulation to sign for a 66 and set the target but coming up behind him Fox put his approach into the 18th to ten feet.

The New Zealander had that putt for the title but missed on the high side and the pair were left to go back up the last.

Knox put his second shot to a position almost identical to the one he found on the 72nd hole and rolled it home again, with Fox missing his own birdie attempt from 12 feet.

Knox now has a Rolex Series win to add to his WGC-HSBC Champions crown from 2015 and continues his fine form after finishing in a tie for second at last week's HNA Open de France.

He started the day six shots off the lead and completing the biggest comeback in Irish Open history presents some redemption for a player who finished second in this event in 2016.

“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.”

For Fox, it is a fifth top ten in Rolex Series events and he has the consolation of securing a place at the Open Championship, 12 months on from achieving the same feat at this event.

“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.”

Englishman Andy Sullivan and South African Zander Lombard are also heading to Carnoustie after claiming the two other places available for the leading players in the top ten not already exempt.

Spaniard Jorge Campillo finished one shot out of the play-off after a closing 65, one shot clear of countryman and defending champion Jon Rahm and overnight leader Erik van Rooyen.

Lombard and Sullivan were then at nine under alongside Thorbjørn Olesen and Danny Willett, a shot clear of French duo Raphaël Jacquelin and Matthieu Pavon.

South African Van Rooyen entered the day with a four-shot lead and while he birdied the fourth, bogeys at sixth, seventh and ninth meant he had been caught by Campillo at the turn.

The 32 year old holed an 18-footer on the first, added another birdie on the next and then put his second to eight feet on the fourth to set up an eagle. A 30-footer on the eighth and another birdie on the ninth had him in a share of the lead but it would soon be a four-way tie.

Fox had bogeyed the first but he holed a 30-footer for eagle on the fourth and when he birdied the 11th, he was at the top of the leaderboard.

Knox was another man to eagle to fourth from just six feet and he added further gains from six and 15 feet on the sixth and tenth. A bogey followed on the next but a 20-footer on the 12th had him in the leading group at 12 under.

Fox birdied the 12th and put his third to three feet on the par five 13th to lead by two but he bogeyed the next, with Knox joining him at the top after a tap-in at the 15th.

Campillo sandwiched a birdie on the 13th with bogeys on the 11th and 16th but an eagle from 40 feet on the 17th had him in a share of the lead, where he was soon joined by Van Rooyen who birdied the 13th.

Van Rooyen then bogeyed the 14th and Fox hit the front on his own with a birdie on the 17th before Knox's late drama.

A triple-bogey on the second looked to have ended Rahm's chances but he birdied the next two and was back in red figures on the day when he chipped in for an eagle on the sixth. Six pars would follow but the World Number Five then birdied five of his last six holes, hitting the pin on the last when an eagle would have seen him share the clubhouse lead.

Dane Olesen registered a closing 68, Lombard and Sullivan both signed for rounds of 69 and 2016 Masters Tournament Willett got round in level par 72.

Jacquelin and Pavon both carded closing rounds of 71.

A Rolex Series Event

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KNOX, RussellSCO18-14
2FOX, RyanNZL18-14
3CAMPILLO, JorgeESP18-13
T4RAHM, JonESP18-12
T4VAN ROOYEN, ErikRSA18-12
T6OLESEN, ThorbjørnDEN18-9

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