As the torrid rain and absurd wind conditions hit Royal Portrush on Sunday afternoon, Shane Lowry emerges as the sole victor of a uncompromising weekend.
Despite having missed the cut consecutively in his last four British Opens, the Irishman was completely impervious to the desperate conditions put in front of him. Due to his sensational third-round 63 which gave him a four-shot lead heading into the final day, Lowry finished with a one-over par 72, six strokes ahead of Tommy Fleetwood.
None of the players inside the top six shot an under-par final round, a justification of how unrelenting the course was set-up in tandem with the horrific weather conditions.
“Golf is a weird sport and you never know what’s around the corner,” Lowry said during his post tournament press conference. “I sat in the car park in Carnoustie, almost a year ago right to this week, and I cried. Golf wasn’t my friend at the time. It was something that become very stressful and it was weighing on me and I just didn’t like doing it. What a difference a year makes.”
The Claret Jug is now in the hands of the fifth Irishman, after Fred Daly, Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke had set their name in stone.
“I knew that I had to fight to the bitter end today, and that’s what helped me. And that’s where I struggled in Oakmont. I always said after Oakmont, if I could have got the last four holes back, I’d give anything to be standing on the 14th fairway again.” he added.
Lowry infamously imploded at Oakmont in 2016’s US Open. He had a four-shot leading going into the final round but ended up six-over par for the day to finish T2.
“I spotted my family when I walked around the corner and to be honest, I welled up a little bit and my caddy Bo told me to catch a hold of myself, I still have to hit a shot. Thankfully I hit a decent shot in there and two-putted.
“Earlier I told my caddie that I couldn’t stop thinking about winning, but he said: ‘Stay with me, stay with me,’ and kept on my back. What a job he did. I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow morning, and find out what it’s going to feel like then. It’s just going to be incredible!”
Lowry broke into the golfing scene back in 2009, when he won The Irish Open on the European Tour as an amateur, becoming only the third player to do so. Since then, the 32-year-old has won WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Portugal Masters, and the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship.
The Champion also admitted that growing up all he ever wanted to was to win the Open – but it was only until deep in the final round that he thought he could do it.
“Look, I’m Irish. I grew up holing putts back home to win the Open. It was always the Open, wasn’t it? I watched Paddy win his two Opens. I didn’t even know him back then. I’m obviously very good friends with him. To have him there on the 18th, like you go into Paddy’s house and the Claret Jug is sitting on the kitchen table, and I’m going to have one on my kitchen table, as well. I said that to him, as well, that’s going to be quite nice.”
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Fleetwood on the other hand, gave up all hopes after a double bogey at the 14th ended the Englishman’s challenge as he finished three-over for the day on nine-under.
Tony Finau finished sole third after an even par performance. That is five top-ten finishes in his last eight Major appearances.
Brooks Koepka started his day with four bogeys in as many holes, and was left frustrated by the slow play of his partner JB Holmes. His 74 meant a tie for fourth with Lee Westwood.Leave a comment