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Published: 17:16 | 22/5/16

McIlroy wins Irish Open

Northern Irishman triumphs with late surge

Rory McIlroy produced some brilliant golf on the finishing stretch to win the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at the K Club.

Having fallen behind to the impressive Russell Knox, the Northern Irishman regained the lead through a piece of brilliance when his second shot flew into the heart of the green on the par-five 16th, setting up a birdie while Knox carded a bogey.

Now enjoying a one-shot advantage, the four-time major champion then walked off the 17th green with the same lead - his birdie putt came back out of the cup - before another superb shot with a three wood landed within three feet to set up an eagle on 18.

This snuffed out Knox's challenge and secured a three-shot victory for the world number three, posting 12 under for the tournament.

McIlroy, who was visibly emotional afterwards, claimed the first prize of €515,000, which he will donate to his own Rory foundation which hosted the tournament for the second year.

The turning point was that 16th hole when Knox overturned McIlroy's three-shot lead to go one clear, bogeyed under the pressure of McIlroy's brilliant fairway wood hitting the green to set up an eagle putt, which was missed, but the three-shot swing proved decisive.

Bradley Dredge surged through the field with a stunning 66 on a day of more tough conditions, to win the biggest pay-day of his career, joint-second with Knox who carded a 68.

Masters champion Danny Willett, who started the day well in contention, had a deeply disappointing round, securing 13 straight pars before collapsing down the final holes, eventually signing for a 77.

England's Matthew Southgate, who had to regain his European Tour card via the qualifying school last year after undergoing treatment for testicular cancer, shot a closing 68 to finish fourth, the best finish of his career, leaving him in tears on the 18th green.

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