Knox hoping for happy homecoming
July 11, 2018
Man of the moment Russell Knox is bidding to become the first back-to-back Rolex Series winner as he prepares to tee it up on home soil for the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane Golf Club.
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“After last week, such a high, the main goal this week, and also next week, is just to enjoy my time here and if I can replicate any kind of form the last few weeks, it will be a huge bonus."
Following a runner-up finish at the HNA Open de France, Knox secured his first Rolex Series victory last week at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation in thrilling fashion as he sank a 40-foot birdie putt to beat Ryan Fox in a play-off.
He now returns to Scotland's Golf Coast hoping to improve on his best finish of tenth place at the Scottish Open - which he recorded here at Gullane in 2015 and again at Castle Stuart the following year.
"I'm tired to be brutally honest. It was obviously amazing. It wouldn't change anything. I played a lot of golf, but ultimately winning in Ireland makes up for everything, all the hard work I've put in."
"So it's been good. I'm tired now, but couldn't really have worked out any better, coming back to Scotland for two weeks, because obviously I'll be up for these next two tournaments, naturally being back home. So it's been a roller coaster ride but all good.
The 33 year old will tee it up alongside 2018 Masters Tournament winner Patrick Reed, who is making his third appearance in Scotland's national open, and Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter.
"It feels good," said Reed. "Been over here for a little bit. To be able to come out and get used to kind of the golf ball rolling as much as it does and how firm it is, it's more of a comfort level, I feel like, for us now."
"You have to get used to landing the ball so short. When you have 180 yards, it's okay to hit 9-iron because it will bounce and roll, unlike back home where you're hitting, you know, 7-iron. You just have to kind of get used to not having to overswing to get a certain number out of it."
Former Scottish Open champions in the field include 2015 victor Rickie Fowler, who returns to the course where he won his first European Tour title, and 2014 champion and current World Number Three Justin Rose.
"I definitely enjoyed it from the first time I played it," said Fowler. "It's a fairly straightforward, links golf course. Not many blind shots. It's kind of right in front of you and I feel like we've got a good variety of conditions last year as far as a couple days where it blew pretty good, and you know, definitely remember the stretch I had coming in, I think kind of final four, five holes to get myself back in it and win it with a birdie at the last."
Five-time Major Champion Phil Mickelson, winner of the Scottish Open in 2013, also joins the world-class field which has assembled in East Lothian.