Russell Knox wins Irish Open in playoff

Rahm almost holed his approach at the par-four last

After finishing second in 2016 when Rory McIlroy pulled off two of the great shots of his career to beat him, Russell Knox knew only too well that astounding golf was invariably required to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

Earlier, the Scot had holed a 40-footer on the same green for a birdie that turned out to be good enough to tie Fox at 14 under par.

He almost managed it - a booming drive and delicate approach left Fox needing to hole an eight-footer to win his first title on the European Tour, but past the right edge it skimmed, leaving Fox stunned, and giving Knox a second chance as the pair returned to the 18th hole for a playoff.

Spain's Jorge Campillo finished a shot outside the play-off after a brilliant final round of 65, with defending champion Jon Rahm another stroke back following a remarkable 66 which included a triple-bogey seven on the second and five birdies in the last six holes.

Fox then two-putted for birdie on the 17th hole as Knox made the first of his enormous putts on 18 to set the clubhouse target at 14-under, giving the New Zealander a chance to claim the title if he could make birdie on the last.

The second-place finish qualified the 31-year-old Kiwi to participate in the next major, the Open Championship at Carnoustie from July 19-22, and he also pocketed a career-best payday of €665,614 (NZ$1.14 million).

Fox, who had a 68, secured a place in the British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, later this month.

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. That's why I play golf. It was his second tour title.

"That's why you play golf, to hole a putt like that on the last hole". The leading four players not already exempt from the top-12 finishers qualified.

"Right now I'm enjoying winning this trophy and if I struggle the next two weeks I'm still going to enjoy this moment".

He said: "I definitely saw some encouraging signs on the greens today which was great and gives me something to work on over the next few days in preparation for Carnoustie".

"I'm happy", he said after the round.

Wade Ormsby and Adam Bland were Australia's best, both finishing 15 shots behind the victor for a tie of 49th.

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