Flying Fox leads Irish Open

Russell Knox celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th hole

Russell Knox celebrates his birdie putt on the 18th hole

The 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Golf Championship begins tomorrow at Ballyliffin in County Donegal with a top class field battling it out for the prestigious title won a year ago by Spaniard John Rahm.

"A couple of the long-range putts were obviously bonuses but it was nice to see them go in and keep the momentum going because when you saw the leaderboard after a few holes we were a helluva long way back".

Rory McIlroy finished at -2, but it could have been so much better as his putter was cold. "I don't get any enjoyment finishing in the top ten, it is no fun to me", said Harrington.

"My game is in good shape and I made 19 birdies in France last week, but I just made too many mistakes and I'm certainly playing good enough golf to compete any week at the minute".

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"I feel like that's the way golf is". I've got two more chances this year to hopefully
play myself into contention.

A strong performance at the Irish Open could qualify Fox for the third major of the year, the British Open at Carnoustie. So there's no excuse about not being prepared or not, and I've learned that as I went along.

McIlroy, who won this title in 2016 but has missed the cut in four of the last five years, could not convert from 12 feet for eagle on the par-five fourth and quickly handed back the shot gained on the next after needing two attempts to escape a greenside bunker.

"I played nine holes today and it is a very traditional links golf course which requires an bad lot of thinking, a lot of strategy on the golf course, which hopefully will play into my hands and gives me a lot of options", said Harrington. I felt I was underprepared at County Down [in 2015]. Quirky fact: he lost a play-off at Verdura in the Rocco Forte Open previous year; this week's leader won one there two months ago. I really feel like I just have to wait for my week to happen. So got here Monday morning, practiced all day Monday afternoon.

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