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Alternate Knocks On Opportunity

SHANGHAI, CHINA - NOVEMBER 08: Russell Knox of Scotland celebrates his birdie on the 16th hole during the final round of the WGC - HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club on November 8, 2015 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Who won

Seventh alternate only 10 days earlier, the unsung Russell Knox made off with the $1.4 million winner’s cheque in the WGC-HSBC Champions. Though the American-based Scot once shot 59 on the Tour, he never had won on the main Tour until Sunday. (The closest he had come was when he was involved in a play-off for last year’s Honda Classic.)

Who didn’t win

Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and all the rest of the big names. Kevin Kisner finished second at
18 under to Knox’s 20 under. Danny Willett and Ross Fisher shared third.

How it happened

Knox’s sister, Diane, a Scottish DJ, was trying to concentrate on her regular Sunday-morning slot and tweeting, “This is torture” as Knox was coming down the stretch. He saw the 12-foot birdie putt he made at the 16th as crucial. “It’s three years since I putted like this,” he laughed afterward. “Normally, my putting’s horrendous.” Away from that putt, he felt that he had benefited hugely from waiting until Sunday morning to play the 18th hole of his third round. “I was getting tight and the day was getting dark.” When he came back at 7:45 a.m, Sunday, he had a birdie sandwiched between his two breakfasts and felt his confidence take a leap. “It was huge in terms of momentum and I was way more calm.”


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