Portrush – It was his to lose, however Eire’s Shane Lowry had no intention of letting the Claret Jug slip from his grasp as he romped to victory within the Open at Royal Portrush for his first main title.
The 32-year-old weathered troublesome situations and the stress of holding onto a sizeable in a single day result in beat England’s Tommy Fleetwood by six strokes, with American Tony Finau third. Lowry had grow to be the gang favourite since Northern Eire’s stars fell out of rivalry, and he rode their raucous assist to surge clear with that course-record 63 Saturday earlier than a battling 72 Sunday to finish 15 beneath. He turns into solely the second participant from Eire to win a serious after Padraig Harrington gained three between 2007 and 2008.
The world No.33’s earlier finest main end was second within the US Open in 2016 after he blew a four-shot lead going into the ultimate day. However not this time. Lowry appeared impervious to the intervals of lashing rain, fierce gusts and expectation, each from inside and from the feverish followers, who roared him onto and off each inexperienced and tee.
In tandem with caddie Brian “Bo” Martin he plotted his approach round Portrush’s celebrated Dunluce hyperlinks, conserving his head when he made errors and providing no alternatives for the chasing pack. Regardless of a bogey on the first he edged clear to guide by six after seven holes and once more after 10 and 15. It had grow to be a two-horse race with Fleetwood, who additionally had loads of assist given his European Ryder Cup heroics, however one wherein the second runner was lagging from the off.
Fleetwood was additionally chasing his first main title after a runner-up spot within the 2018 US Open, however he simply couldn’t get shut sufficient to rattle Lowry. Lowry’s father Brendan, a well-known Gaelic footballer, adopted contained in the ropes, watching on nervously regardless of his son’s seemingly clean passage to glory. “He’s everybody’s son in Eire right this moment,” mentioned former European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance on TV commentary.
Smiling and along with his arms thrust in his body-warmer pockets, Lowry junior walked as much as the lofty 18th tee with the European Ryder Cup chant “ole, ole, ole” ringing throughout him. His drive bisected the golf green and he blew out his cheeks and appeared up into the sky. If the reception for Rory McIlroy after his valiant try to make the lower Friday had been emotional, the wall of noise that greeted Lowry was thunderous and jubilant.
When his second shot discovered the inexperienced he raised each arms and hugged Martin, lastly unlocking a full beaming grin that lit up the in any other case gloomy Portrush afternoon. Lowry stroked within the successful putt and was greeted by spouse Wendy and his younger daughter on the 18th inexperienced, earlier than hugs for the remainder of his household and mates. “Wow,” mentioned Lowry after accepting the Claret Jug on the 18th inexperienced. “To have an Open at Royal Portrush on the island of Eire is simply superb.”
His eye stuffed and his voice cracked as he added: “My mum and pa sacrificed a lot for me and I’m simply glad I can hand them this trophy tonight.”
He was additionally hugged by Portrush native Graeme McDowell, whose success because the 2010 US Open winner performed its half within the Open returning to Northern Eire for the primary time in 68 years.
Lowry gained his first European Tour occasion when nonetheless an beginner on the Irish Open in 2009 and clinched the final of his 4 titles in Abu Dhabi in January. However the Open’s Claret Jug, and first prize of $1.935 million, is one thing he’d solely dreamed of.