McIlroy looks on the bright side ahead of British Open

McIlroy looks on the bright side ahead of British Open

McIlroy looks on the bright side ahead of British Open

SCOTLAND'S Russell Knox holed a huge putt on the first hole of a playoff to defeat New Zealand's Ryan Fox and claim the Irish Open in dramatic fashion.

New Zealander Ryan Fox appeared to hold the upper hand as he fired his second shot onto the 18th green.

And when the players returned to the 18th for a sudden-death play-off the situation was remarkably repeated, Knox holing from an nearly identical place for birdie before Fox saw his attempt catch the edge of the hole and spin out.

Knox and Fox headed down the 18th once more, both had great drives and found the green easily.

Fox eventually edged ahead with a birdie at the 17th, but Knox would not go away and that sensational 40-footer on the last proved good enough for a play-off after Fox missed from inside 10 feet for outright victory.

"I hit two great putts on 18 which grazed the edge and one came back at me", said Fox. The way I managed to do it, holing those two long putts, it was just my time. "This is a heck of a start but I feel I have more to go". Each time Knox responded, with the pair the last ones standing in a round where several players launched bids at the title.

While missing out on the ultimate goal, Fox did get a handy consolation prize, with his second place finish booking him a spot in the Open Championship - his third appearance in the last four years. "I hit the shots I wanted to down the stretch, I felt comfortable out there and it was close".

Knox then birdied the sixth and after three straight pars but then after a birdie 3 at the 10th the Scot found himself in a four-way share of the lead on 12-under par. He will now head to Carnoustie full of confidence and has thrown his hat in the ring for a place in Europe's Ryder Cup team.

This weekend the action moves to the Scottish Open at Gullane. Knox then went on to win on the first playoff hole in stunning fashion at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal.

"The Open Championship is very important to me and I think I overreacted a little bit yesterday", McDowell said. "I heard Russ holed a big one on 18 to get in the playoff and he obviously holed a massive one in the playoff as well".

In terms of the Irish on the field, Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry were best placed, both on 2 under, 12 shots off the victor.

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