Russell Knox wins Irish Open after monstrous playoff putt

Rahm almost holed his approach at the par-four last

McIlroy expressed delight at the success of this week's Ballyliffin event after the European Tour's decision to bring the tournament to the Donegal venue for the first time.

Inverness-born Knox first grabbed the 14-under par clubhouse lead with a 72nd hole near 50-foot curling birdie putt and a round of 66 before being joined by big-hitting Kiwi Ryan Fox, who had posted a 68.

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 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 nearly identical putt.

And Knox heads to this week's Aberdeen Standards Investments Scottish Open eager to win at Gullane ahead of teeing-up a week later at Carnoustie.

"To make a putt like that, it's a dream come true", he said.

"My goal was to come to Europe for a month and then try and win a tournament, and to finish tied second last week in France and then to win this great tournament, I feel very lucky and unbelievable". Like, just react.' I mean, I pured the putt. "Fortunately I've done it before, so I knew I could do it". "I'm happy, I hit the shots I wanted to down the stretch, felt comfortable out there and it was close".

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Jorge Campillo (65) finished in third place, a shot further back, and defending champion Jon Rahm was in a share of fourth after a 66.

While disappointed at not winning Fox still earns almost $1.5 million for finishing runner-up and will tee off in the third major of the year the Open at Carnoustie in two weeks time.

Erik van Rooyen led by four overnight but fell away with a final-round 74.

"To make the Ryder Cup team, you have to win tournaments", Knox said. I've done it before in the USA on the last hole, 12 feet.

McIlroy struggled with his putting during the first two rounds but was pleased to see his fortunes improve of the greens on his way to a tied-28th finish.

The consoloation for Fox is that he did claim one of the Open qualifying spots given to three players in the top 10 and not already exempt. "I love having to hit the little bump-and-runs from 70 yards like I had on 18 a couple of times", he said.

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