Golf Australia

Lowry lives out his, Ireland's dream

Shane Lowry
Shane Lowry celebrates as he walks up 18 at The 2019 Open.

For three days it almost sounded too good to be true. But nobody could stop Ireland’s Shane Lowry on his way to the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush.

Many expected the pressure of a nation and horrific, yet textbook links weather to halt the 32-year-old’s fairytale run in Northern Ireland.

But Lowry played like a champion on his way to the largest Open victory since Louis Oosthuizen in 2010.

“I couldn't believe that it was me. I couldn't believe it was happening,” Lowry said.

“I thought about [winning] all day but I didn't really let myself think about it until I hit my tee shot on 17. As soon as I hit that tee shot I knew that I couldn't really lose a ball from there.”

With a four-stoke lead in his back pocket to start the day, a Sunday 72 was precisely what 40,000 raucous patrons ordered, Lowry winning his first major by six shots over final round playing partner Tommy Fleetwood.

"I suppose I didn't even know going out this morning if I was good enough to win a major," Lowry said.

"I knew I was able to put a few days together. I knew I was able to play the golf course. I just went out there and tried to give my best. And look, I'm here now, a major champion. I can't believe I'm saying it, to be honest."

Fleetwood started the day four behind his playing partner and missed a golden opportunity for birdie on the first, with Lowry draining an eight-footer for bogey to ensure his advantage was cut to only three.

Irish nerves were put at ease soon after with Lowry ripping off birdies at four, five and the par-5 seventh to see his lead balloon out to a tournament-high six shots.

The wildest of the weather hit soon after and while Lowry handed shots back at eight and nine, Fleetwood succumbed to the 40kph gusts through a bogey at 10.

The 28-year-old capitalised on the par-5 12th and a birdie there meant the margin was back to four with six holes to play.

But that was as good as things got for Fleetwood, a devastating double bogey at 14 made worse when the Irishman stiffed his wedge to the par-4 15th, Lowry sinking the birdie putt to kick-start the celebrations prematurely.

The Irish crowds flooded the 18th fairway behind Lowry as he hugged his caddie and saluted the crowd.

Fleetwood notched his second runner-up finish in a major (2018 US Open) following a Sunday 74 that saw him finish at 9-under for the week.

Of the rest, American Tony Finau was the last man standing in the afternoon’s treacherous conditions, his even-par 71 helping him lock down outright third at 7-under.

England’s Lee Westwood climbed to 10-under on the front nine but went backwards as the weather worsened, eventually settling at 6-under for a share of fifth with Brooks Koepka (74).

Australian Cam Smith fought valiantly on Sunday and was rewarded with a career best finish at The Open, the Queenslander carding a Sunday 76 to finish at 5-under in a share of 20th.

 


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