Knox Ends Horror Run To Be In Barracuda Contention Thanks To New Coach

A smiling Russell Knox is quitely confident he’s ready to celebrate ending a horror run of missed cuts with victory in the Barracuda Championship.

Knox shares seventh place but just four points off the lead through two rounds in the unique modified stableford event being played in far eastern California and some 30-miles from Reno, Nevada.

Knox added 8 points to his opening 10 points to be trailing American Kyle Stanley who leads into the weekend by two points with 22 points in the $US 3.5m event where an eagle is worth five points, a birdie two but a bogey minus a point.

The Scot has amassed one eagle, eight birdies but has only three bogeys over 36-holes of the Tahoe Mt (Greenwood) course located some 6,000 feet above sea level in Truckee, California.

It’s the first time Knox has contested the event since 2013 and he teed-up more out of necessity given the proud Scot has slipped to World No. 183 and 122nd on the FedEx Cup standings so that he did not qualify for the elite WGC – FedEx St. Jude Invitational taking place in Memphis.

Russell Knox bounces back from a horror runs of outs to be in contention heading to the final two rounds of the Baracuda Championship

Never before in Knox’s 13-year and seven event winning pro career has he sat out the weekend rounds in 10 straight tournaments. His poorest run ahead of this 2019/20 wraparound season was missing four cuts in a row in his 2012 rookie year.

In fact, over the past two years (2018 and 2019) Knox contested 49 events and missed the cut in only 11 tournaments and never more than two in succession.

The Florida-based Scot had missed three cuts in succession ahead of the 13th March cancellation of the Players Championship but not for a moment did he ‘dream’ his run of ‘outs’ would extend for another seven events following the June 11th return to competition.

He said: “It’s a big relief to make the cut and it’s a bit weird because just before the whole pandemic thing I wasn’t that far off with some good results and obviously I did not for one moment dream that in returning to competition and being like a snail.

“The last couple of weeks my game has felt a 100-times better and with my ball-striking being great, I knew I was now again heading in the right direction and super-close to playing good golf and this was a good positive sign for me in coming here this week.”

The Barracuda Championship trophy

With the restart to the Tour looming in June, Knox and his wife, Andrea excitedly jumped aboard their spacious new motor-home to drive very long distances to the six events.

However, due to an 1,800-mile journey from last week’s event in Minneapolis to California, they chose to fly and arranged for their RV to be shipped back to Florida.

Now that Knox has weekend work for the first time since 2nd February when he finished T16th at the Phoenix Open, he’s looked back on the past five months and is also now quietly-confident work with new coach, Mark McCann will reap overdue rewards.

McCann is a former Tour player and was one of Martin Laird’s early coaches while he’s worked also with Canadian Nick Taylor.

Knox said:  “No-one really knew in the 12 weeks we had off what to do but then I rested a lot and I thought to myself how good my game was going into the lockdown but then in coming out of the period off I clearly didn’t do the right things did I? (smiling)

“In saying that I started working during the lockdown period with a new coach in Mark McCann.

“I feel like in working with Mark that instead of being off the path and kind of hopeless and missing cuts, Mark has helped me get back on the straight and narrow.

“Missing all those cuts and having weekends off was tough and I know I am a far better golfer than what I was showing.   I feel now I am back on the right track and these two days have definitely been a nice confident boost.”

It will be four years on 8th August since Knox last won on the PGA Tour in capturing the 2016 Travelers Championship, and while he won a first European Tour event a year later at the Irish Open, Knox is now very excited about what lays ahead at the Barracuda Championship.

He said:  “I am going to be an amazing weekend player now (laughing) and I am going out there now to have a blast.  This course and the format is one of the best there is.

“I have a game plan worked out and I just have to hit like I have the first 27 holes and I should be fine”.


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