Magnificent McIlroy holds off Knox to win Irish Open


Tournament host Rory McIlroy hit two stunning approach shots in the closing three holes to end a six-month winless drought, capturing the Irish Open at the K Club on Sunday.

The Northern Irishman used his prodigious length to birdie the par-five 16th and then, with a one-shot lead on the par-five last, he hit his second shot from over 250 yards to within just a couple of feet of the pin before tapping in for eagle.

McIlroy went into the final round of the weather-affected event leading by three shots, and the world number three’s rally in the closing holes carried him to a closing 69 and victory by three strokes with a 12-under par total.

The win is McIlroy’s first as a professional on Irish soil, and also a first taste of success since capturing last November’s European Tour season-ending World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Scotland’s Russell Knox, using a borrowed driver, looked set to deny McIlroy as he moved one shot clear of the field thanks to back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15.

However, the 30-year-old Florida-based golfer three-putted the 16th for bogey in an eventual round of 68, to finish tied for second at nine under par with Welshman Bradley Dredge, who signed for a 66.

Germany’s Martin Kaymer produced the lowest score on the final day with a seven under par 65 to share fifth place at six under.