Knox confirms he will defend his DDF Irish Open crown

by | Feb 20, 2019 | 0 comments

Bernie McGuire

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 Knox holing in the final round on the 18th green at Ballyliffin / Image from Getty Images

This year’s Dubai Duty Irish Open has been handed more good news with Scotland’s Russell Knox confirming he will return to defend his title at Lahinch.

 

It was just a few weeks ago it was announced former European Tour No. 1 Tommy Fleetwood along with Shane Lowry will contest the event.

 

Knox captured a first victory on European soil last July in brilliantly holing back-to-back curling 40-foot birdie bombs first on the closing hole in regulation play and then at the first extra play-off hole on the Glashedy  course at Ballyliffin.

The Scot’s first birdie helped him force a play-off with Kiwi Ryan Fox and then the situation of minutes earlier was repeated when Knox holed from almost exactly the same spot before Fox saw his attempt from close range catch the edge of the hole and spin out.

A week earlier, Knox had finished runner-up at the French Open while Fox finally broke through for his first Tour success at last week’s Perth Sixes in Australia.

“I have never been to Lahinch but heard so many great comments on the course, the town and surrounding area, so looking forward to heading back to Ireland in July,” said Knox.

Knox’s victory was his second European Tour win after a maiden success in the 2015 WGC – HSBC Champions event in Shanghai while a year later he captured a first ‘regular’ PGA Tour in winning the Travelers Championship.

“Looking back over those four days last year at Ballyliffin my whole game was pretty solid while I really enjoyed the challenge of playing the golf course,” he said.

“I drove the ball well, my iron-play was good and my putting was particularly good. I remember making key putts the whole week including some nice par putts and some great birdie putts. Then there was that one on the 72nd to force the play-off and then that similar birdie putt in the play-off.”

“It was just a fun golf course and I just enjoyed so much walking around it, not only for the four days of the tournament, but also in the practice rounds.”

“It also was two great weeks for me as I went so close a week earlier in nearly winning the French and then to go one better in the Irish was amazing, and really those two weeks were my whole year.”

“I’ve also got the trophy sitting proudly back in my office at home and each time I glance at it, it brings back so many fond and special memories.”

And while looking forward to teeing-up at Lahinch, Knox says he’s a great fan of new tournament host, Paul McGinley.

“I really like Paul as we have chatted about things in the past while his Ryder Cup leadership at Gleneagles was remarkable. He’s a guy who I would really like to spend more time with as I always enjoy talking to Paul a lot.”

“And while he’s become a very astute observer of the game, I like him and I like his company.”

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open will be held at Lahinch from July 4th to 7th.

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