Knox Out-Putts Fox, Wins Irish Open; Van Rooyen Ties for 4th
July 9, 2018
COUNTY DONEGAL, Ireland -- The only things longer than the name of the tournament were the two putts that Russell Knox made on the 18th green Sunday to win the Irish Open, or as the full title has it: the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation.
Knox, a 33-year-old Scottish pro, made a 40-footer for birdie on the par-4 18th hole to conclude his fourth round. It gave him a 6-under-par 66 at Ballyliffin Golf Club and put him at 274 for 72 holes, thereby earning him a spot in a sudden death playoff with Ryan Fox. Knox then made virtually the same 40-footer again in the playoff to win the championship.
It was the second European Tour victory for Fox, who has also won twice on the PGA Tour, where he is a full-fledged member. This one was worth 998,425 Euros.
Fox, who closed with a 68, missed an 8-footer for birdie at No. 18 at the conclusion of his Sunday round. He lipped out a 10-footer in the playoff, after Knox had dunked his.
Jorgie Campillo made a spectacular par save on the 18th to shoot the best score of the day, a 65. After finding his tee shot in long, gnarly grass, he hit his second shot over the green and into some more of the long stuff. He did well to get his pitch shot from there to 12 feet, then sank the 12 footer to finish the tournament at 275.
Erik Van Rooyen, the former University of Minnesota star from South Africa, was the 54-hole leader, but he could do no better than 74 on Sunday and tied Jon Rahm for fourth at 276.
After making six birdies on the front nine at Ballyliffin on Saturday, Van Rooyen made nine pars on the back nine. Despite the absence of any birdies on the incoming nine, he still led the field by four shots. On Sunday, he birdied the fourth hole, and things looked promising, but he made only one birdie the rest of the way -- and four bogeys.
The 28-year-old former Minnesota State Amateur champion -- and Tapemark Charity Pro-Am champ -- was still only one stroke behind when he hit the green with his tee shot at the par-3 14th hole. But he blasted his first putt 10 feet past and lipped out the par putt.
Van Rooyen earned 276,765 euros, which pushed his total for the 2017-18 European Tour season to 605,381. He ranks 30th in the European Tour's Race to Dubai (where the season-ending tournament is held).
Rahm was going the opposite direction on Sunday -- after he made a triple bogey on the second hole. He rallied with seven birdies and an eagle, and birdied five of his last six holes.
MEN'S PROFESSIONAL GOLF
Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation
At Ballyliffin GC
County Donegal, Ireland
1. Russell Knox 71-69-68-66--274 (won playoff on 1st extra hole)
2. Ryan Fox 67-69-70-68--274
3. Jorgie Campillo 70-71-69-65--275
T4. Erick Van Rooyen 71-65-66-74--276
T4. Jon Rahm 74-69-67-66--276