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Russell Knox goes 'beast mode' in Travelers Championship win

CROMWELL, Conn. -- Russell Knox is a beast. Don't take my word for it, though. Just ask him.

"I've joked with a few people that I'm a beast," he said with a smile. "I think it's because I'm the opposite of a beast, to be honest."

Knox tips the scales at 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, and speaks with a confounding Scottish brogue that infuses hints of Northern Florida. He's sort of the opposite of a beast, whatever that might be. He's affable, unintimidating and laughs a lot.

Until it's time to get serious.

On the final hole of the Travelers Championship late Sunday afternoon, The Beast officially went into Beast Mode.

Leading by a single stroke while playing in the last pairing, Knox pushed his drive to the right, found the greenside bunker with his approach, then splashed his next shot onto the green. That left a 12-footer for par, through a shadow, for his second career victory.

He rolled the putt dead into the center of the cup and hurled his hat across the green in what can only be described as a Beast-like celebration.

"You're never thinking, 'OK, if this goes in, I'm going to throw my hat,'" he admitted. "But I felt like the Incredible Hulk when it went in. I could have ripped my shirt off."

On a day when Jim Furyk set the all-time PGA Tour single-round scoring record with a 58 more than five hours earlier, it was always going to take something impressive to knock his feat from the headlines.

Knox might not have accomplished that exactly, but they at least shared the spotlight on a day oozing with drama from beginning to end.

Ask the champion which one he'd rather have -- the win or the record -- and he quickly retreats back into Beast Mode.

"I dominated him," he offered with a laugh. "I guarantee you he would trade places very quickly with me. But no, I mean, I'm friends with Jim. We live close to each other. I was very jealous of him. I wanted to be the first person to break 60 two times. I shot 59 a few years back in Boise on the Web.com [Tour]. I woke up this morning and was looking at the scores on my phone, and all of a sudden I saw he was 10-under after 11 and I was like, man, I don't know what he's going to shoot, 55? But no, I'm very happy for him, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He's the best."

OK, so he's a beast, but maybe just a friendly beast.

The two rounds weren't all that dissimilar, at least in their conclusions. Following a birdie on the 16th hole, Furyk needed to make pars on each of the last two in order to clinch the record. Knox, meanwhile, bogeyed the 16th, meaning he needed to make pars on each of the last two in order to clinch the win.

After a routine par on the penultimate hole, he referred to his par on the last as the best one of his career. It's a career that now includes two PGA Tour wins, as he also won the HSBC Champions earlier this season, and might also lead to a berth on the European Ryder Cup team soon.

For now, though, he's just focused on enjoying this victory -- the one in which he went into Beast Mode when it mattered the most.

"Maybe I am a beast, maybe because it worked," he pondered afterward. "If I keep saying it, maybe I'll win more."