Dead-eyed Knox beats Fox in Irish Open playoff

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

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

But Fox then sunk a long putt to put the pressure on Fox and his miss meant he was unable to force a second play-off hole.

The Inverness native shot a closing 66 to come from six shots back after 54 holes to tie Fox at the top of the leaderboard on 14 under.

Knox and Fox headed down the 18th once more, both had great drives and found the green easily.

Fox, who had the consolation of booking his place in the Open for the second year running in this event, said: "It's a bloody nice consolation".

With an early eagle on the fourth hole, the Scot added birdies at both the sixth and 10th holes as Van Rooyen struggled with three bogeys in his opening nine holes.

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. But I played the U.S. Open and hopefully nothing can be as hard as that.

Defending champion Jon Rahm shot 66 to finish tied fourth with Van Rooyen, while Danny Willett continued his recovery from the depths in tied sixth spot.

Rory McIlroy has vowed not to repeat the mistakes of his US Open campaign as he seeks a first major title since 2014 in next week's Open Championship at Carnoustie. Goodness, did he show his mettle to put himself in a flawless frame of mind heading to his native land for the Scottish Open this week and then The Open at Carnoustie.

Russell Knox's hopes of making this year's European Ryder Cup have received a significant boost with victory in the Irish Open.

Two years ago, European captain Darren Clarke opted not to hand US-based Knox a wild card as he instead picked Lee Westwood, Thomas Pieters and Martin Kaymer.

"To make the Ryder Cup team, you have to win tournaments", Knox said.

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.

A pitch to 10 feet gave Fox his opportunity but the putt slid by to ensure the play-off.

As for McIlroy, he left Ballyliffin feeling better about his putting after getting an overnight message from his putting whisperer Brad Faxon on his body language. But I hit some great shots, and the putter was just hot.

"It was a good little reminder that attitude is very important out there on the greens".