Scotsman Russell Knox emphatically sealed his place in the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship after holing two outstanding putts on the 18th as he beat Ryan Fox in a play-off to lift the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation title.
The 33 year old walked up to the final hole in regulation one shot behind the Kiwi but made an astonishing 40 foot putt to sign for a 66 and take the clubhouse lead. Fox was coming up behind and having put his approach within ten feet of the pin looked destined to pick up his first European Tour title. But the 31 year old narrowly missed his birdie putt meaning both men would play the 18th once more. Remarkably, Knox produced the magic touch again as he sunk another monster birdie putt before Fox again missed his own birdie attempt in front of a packed crowd at Ballyiffin Golf Club. The victory sees Knox pick up 1,166,660 Race to Dubai points to jump from 25th to fifth in the Race to Dubai Rankings with 1,910,475 points for the season.
“Congratulations to Russell on a first European Tour victory since 2015,” said Nick Tarratt, Director European Tour International, Dubai. “He certainly is the man for the big occasion with his two European Tour wins coming at a World Golf Championship and a Rolex Series event and he will be hoping to continue that form heading into the 147th Open Championship. We wish him all the best and look forward to welcoming him to Jumeriah Golf Estates in November.”
As well as Dubai Duty Free sponsoring the event Dubai added further support in the shape of Emirates Airline, which will lend its hand to the European Tour once again at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open next week.
Having started the final day six off the lead, Knox also cemented his place in history with the biggest comeback in Irish Open history which helped him go one better than his second place finish at the event in 2016, where he was three strokes behind Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.
“To make a putt like I did at the 18th is 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 Dubai Duty Free and Rolex.”
Meanwhile, Fox’s second-place finish also saw him book his place in the DP World Tour Championship as he collected 777,770 Race to Dubai points which moves him up from 40th to 13th in the Race to Dubai Rankings with a total of 1,312,808 points.
Spaniard Jorge Campillo finished one shot adrift, settling for third place in County Donegal. He picks up 438,200 Race to Dubai points which sees him climb from 15th to 10th in the Race to Dubai Rankings with a season tally of 1,461,372 points.
Defending Champion Jon Rahm and third round leader Erik Van Rooyen finished one further back as they shared fourth. Both men receive 323,400 Race to Dubai points which moves the Spaniard up to eighth from tenth on 1,562,174 points whilst the South African leaps from 56th to 30th on 705,260 points and on the cusp of securing a debut at the European Tour’s finale.
American Patrick Reed leads the Race to Dubai Rankings with 2,785,884 points whilst Sweden’s Alex Noren remains in second with 2,542,160 points. Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood completes the top three with a total of 2,473,864.
The DP World Tour Championship, Dubai takes place at Jumeirah Golf Estates from November 15-18.