Russell Knox looking for dream double with home win in Scotland

Irish Open winner two shots off leader Jens Dantorp in Gullane

 Scotland’s Russell Knox takes his second shot on the fourth hole  during the third round of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane Golf Course. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Scotland’s Russell Knox takes his second shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane Golf Course. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

 

Russell Knox admits it would be a “dream come true” to win the Scottish Open and secure back-to-back victories on the European Tour.

Six days after beating Ryan Fox in a playoff to win the Irish Open, Knox heads into the final round at Gullane just two shots behind surprise leader Jens Dantorp.

The Swede birdied the last three holes to finish 13 under par and edge ahead of Fox, Rickie Fowler, Matt Fitzpatrick, Scott Hend, Marcel Siem and Alexander Bjork.

England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Aaron Rai share eighth place with Knox on 11 under, with the top 26 players separated by just four shots.

“Winning your home Open is a massive goal. Other than winning a Major, this is right up there with the tournament you really want to win the most,” said Knox, who was raised in Inverness but attended Jacksonville University and stayed in Florida after graduating.

“I watched Rory do it a couple of years ago in Ireland and I remember it well. The crowd were not rooting against me by any means but as I birdied 15 and went one ahead that was when the crowd thought ‘Oh no, Rory might not win’.

“Then he went on to hit the best shot he’s ever hit (to set up an eagle on the 72nd hole) and that was that.”

Knox had to settle for a tie for second on that occasion but a victory at Gullane on Sunday would take his earnings to more than €2 million in the last three weeks and make him a near-certainty for a Ryder Cup debut in September.

“I was very tired on Saturday but slept like a king last night and tomorrow the adrenaline will be pumping so I will be fine,” added the 33-year-old, who was controversially overlooked for a wild card by captain Darren Clarke in 2016.

That was despite being ranked 20th in the world, higher than seven members of the European side which went on to lose at Hazeltine.

“Winning is fun and I still have not come down from winning in Ireland. Confidence snowballs in a good and bad way and obviously I’m on a good wave at the moment. Hopefully I can keep riding it.”

Fowler, who won this event the last time it was staged at Gullane in 2015, was one over par after 10 holes of a windswept third round, but birdied the 11th, 15th and 16th to remain firmly in contention.

However, England’s Robert Rock, who enjoyed a two-shot overnight lead, struggled to a 76 to fall six shots off the pace.

Graeme McDowell recovered from carding two double-bogeys in his first three holes to sign for a one-over 71 as he slipped back to four under.

THIRD-ROUND LEADERBOARD

(British and Irish unless stated, par 70):

197 Jens Dantorp (Swe) 64 65 68

198 Marcel Siem (Ger) 66 67 65, Scott Hend (Aus) 66 69 63, Alexander Bjork (Swe) 67 64 67, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 67 68 63, Rickie Fowler (USA) 64 66 68, Matthew Fitzpatrick 68 66 64

199 Tyrrell Hatton 65 64 70, Russell Knox 66 67 66, Aaron Rai 69 63 67

200 Dean Burmester (Rsa) 68 67 65, Trevor Immelman (Rsa) 68 64 68, Justin Rose 67 66 67, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 70 64 66, Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 67 69 64, Eddie Pepperell 67 63 70, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 68 68 64

201 Luke List (USA) 63 69 69, Charley Hoffman (USA) 67 66 68, Jorge Campillo (Esp) 69 65 67, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 67 66 68, Matthew Southgate 65 70 66, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 69 67 65, Stephen Gallacher 70 66 65, Sam Horsfield 67 65 69, Gavin Green (Mal) 69 67 65

202 Haotong Li (Chn) 66 65 71, Steven Brown 69 64 69, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha) 69 65 68, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 70 66 66, Ian Poulter 66 67 69, Justin Walters (Rsa) 66 69 67, Pedro Oriol (Esp) 71 65 66

203 Robert Rock 64 63 76, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 67 67 69, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 70 65 68, Scott Fernandez (Esp) 64 67 72, Danny Willett 66 68 69, Lee Westwood 64 67 72, Patrick Reed (USA) 65 69 69

204 Ricardo Gouveia (Por) 68 68 68, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 65 67 72, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 68 65 71, James Morrison 69 65 70, Alexander Levy (Fra) 68 66 70, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 65 71 68

205 Julien Guerrier (Fra) 65 69 71, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 72 61 72, Cameron Smith (Aus) 68 68 69, Duncan Stewart 70 64 71, Rak hyun Cho (Kor) 69 67 69, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 69 66 70, Connor Syme 71 62 72, Jordan Smith 67 67 71

206 Graeme McDowell 69 66 71, Clement Sordet (Fra) 66 70 70, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 69 65 72, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 70 66 70, Oliver Farr 69 65 72, Jin-ho Choi (Kor) 68 67 71, Oliver Fisher 67 69 70

207 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 66 67 74, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 65 71 71

208 Jamie McLeary 68 68 72

210 Adam Bland (Aus) 67 68 75

211 Thomas Detry (Bel) 70 66 75

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