Russell Knox moved back into the world top 50 and bang in contention for a place in the 2018 Ryder Cup team after clinching victory in the Irish Open.
The Scot, who had was ranked as low as No.137 in the world at the beginning of last month, drained two lengthy putts on the 18th green – one in regulation play and the other in a play-off – to defeat Kiwi Ryan Fox.
It was his first victory since the 2016 Travelers Championship – more than two years ago – and followed an impressive showing at the French Open, where he finished runner-up to clinch his place in The Open at Carnoustie next week.
If performing well at Le Golf National didn’t have captain Thomas Bjorn watching with intent, he is now but, after moving up to eighth on the European Points List, Knox insists that he still has a serious amount of work to do.
“It’s still a long way away,” he said. “To make that team, obviously you have to win tournaments. This is a great start, obviously and last week, as well, but this is not good enough.
“I need to hammer down and I'm going to have to make that team in order to go to France.”
Despite his wins at the 2015 WGC-HSBC Champions and 2016 Travelers Championship, Knox was overlooked as a captain’s pick for Hazeltine by captain Darren Clarke.
Knox wasn’t a European Tour member when he won in China and, as a result, didn’t receive any points for the event. Had he been a member, he would have qualified automatically.
“It was obviously disappointing not to make the team being so close, but that's gone now,” Knox continued. “That's in the past.
“My job is to focus on trying to qualify for the team this year. Like I say, of course it's disappointing, but that's just the way the cookie crumbled for me.
“I've got to get my head down, and just play my best, and if I'm one of those guys come end of qualification, then I would love to be there.”