Irish Open: Inspired Knox has X factor in dramatic play-off

Russell Knox celebrates holing the winning putt on the 18th hole

Russell Knox celebrates holing the winning putt on the 18th hole

Russell Knox holed two mammoth putts in succession to sensationally pip Ryan Fox to glory at the Irish Open.

It was an epic end to a hugely successful event that attracted 94,239 fans over five days - 27,055 yesterday - making it bigger than the preceding Irish Opens at The K Club and Portstewart.

Knox holed from 40 feet for birdie across the 18th green in regulation to join Fox on 14 under par with the Kiwi then missing from eight feet for a birdie of his own to win the title.

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.

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 also qualifies for The Open as a result of his triumph, along with Zander Lombard and Andy Sullivan, who finished joint-sixth and were the highest-placed players not already in the field for Carnoustie.

McIlroy has spent the last four years as tournament host of the Irish Open, during which time it has become part of the lucrative Rolex Series and seen its prize fund rise to $7m (£5.3m).

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"To make a putt like that, it's a dream come true", he said. "These things happen. People hole putts to win tournaments". I wasn't really aiming, I was just sort of reacting to the line.

"It was it was my time this week and I feel very lucky". "I hit the ball the best I've hit it on Thursday and I felt like I sort of kept it up".

"To make that team, you have to win tournaments".

South African Van Rooyen entered the day with a four-shot lead and while he birdied the fourth, bogeys at sixth, seventh and ninth saw him being caught by Campillo at the turn. "The putting got me in this last couple of weeks".

"He also sent me a couple of videos of my body language after all the missed putts this week", laughed the four-time major victor.

Campillo finished the first nine on -6 - with Van Rooyen bogeying on 11th to leave the lead at two strokes. I read the putt and I was like, 'Just don't aim.

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