RUSSELL KNOX, Scotland's top-ranked golfer, brushed off the false alarm over a ballistic missile threat to put himself in contention for victory in the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Knox was heading into the final round sharing sixth place and just four shots behind little-known American Tom Hoge, who headed the field at 16 under par.

Knox had produced his lowest score in 12 months with Friday’s 64 and then backed that up with a third-day 65 that included ending by holing a 60-foot chip shot from a greenside bunker for an eagle three in his round for a 12-under total.

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Florida-based Knox is looking for a first taste of success since capturing the 2016 Travellers Championship, but he had been awoken on Saturday fearing the worst after an in-coming ballistic missile alert.

Inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands were in shock at 8.07am local time as mobile phone owners began receiving text messages which read: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”

An alert also went across local television screens describing how a missile threat was detected that “may impact on land or sea within minutes.”

It caused a sense of panic and uncertainty with a second alert not being sent out for 38 minutes to reveal it was a false alarm.

Knox’s wife, Andrea, was walking along a Honolulu beach when she called her husband to inform him of the news.

“I went out to the balcony expecting to see a missile flying toward Waikiki,” he said.

“You never really think that’s going to happen. But my heart rate went up a little bit.”

Reigning PGA and defending Hawaii Open champion Justin Thomas also revealed he was awoken by an alarming text message.

“I turned on the TV and didn’t see anything and then looked online and thought, ‘It can’t be real’. So I put on some music, opened the sliding door and figured there was nothing I can do about a missile,” said Thomas.

“But right when it happened, everything flashes. It’s the first time I guess you can say my life flashed before my eyes. It was a little dicey.”

Once the all-clear was known, Thomas tweeted: “Well this may be one of the scariest alerts I have ever received. Luckily it was a mistake. This is no small mistake. I hope it doesn’t happen again."

Multiple Tour players were caught up in the commotion included JJ Spaun who tweeted: “In a basement under hotel. Barely any service. Can you send confirmed message over radio or tv,” he asked.