Shane Lowry becomes fifth Irishman to win Open Championship

Carrie Guzman
July 22, 2019

Here's a look at what was transpiring behind Lowry as he walked toward the green.

Lowry closed with a one-over-par 72 in gruelling conditions on Sunday to finish at 15 under for the championship and comfortably clear of English runner-up Tommy Fleetwood.

Fans loudly cheered and broke into a chant after Lowry hit his approach shot into the 18th green.

"It became a two horse race with Tommy, and I just tried to focus on staying ahead".

"Shinnecock - I felt great that week".

"My mum and dad, they sacrificed so much for me when I was younger and I'm so happy I can hand them this trophy tonight", Lowry said as he clutched the Claret Jug, his voice cracking with emotion.

Three years after failing to convert a four-shot lead in the US Open at Oakmont, Lowry took the same advantage into the last day of the first Open staged outside Scotland or England since Max Faulkner triumphed at Portrush in 1951.

He needed to avoid any big numbers on his card and duly did so, making nothing worse than bogey.

Even three straight bogeys around the turn hardly dented his lead, and a six-foot birdie at the 15th hole that extended his margin to six strokes allowed him to nearly enjoy a processional victory march up the final three holes. "I kept telling myself bogeys are not going to hurt you, let's just keep the ball in play and if I make the odd par it will be pretty good".

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The 32-year-old acknowledged the singing gallery packed into the large grandstands surrounding the 18th hole, who greeted him as one of their own.

While his challengers faded as strong winds and heavy rain battered the course in County Antrim in Northern Ireland, Lowry kept his cool to become the fifth Irish major victor and the first since 2008.

He was also hugged by Harrington and Portrush local Graeme McDowell, whose success as the 2010 US Open victor played its part in the Open returning to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years.

When his second shot found the green he raised both arms and hugged Martin, finally unlocking a full beaming grin that lit up the otherwise gloomy Portrush afternoon. "So that one just feels different".

"I said to my caddie walking down the last, "I can't believe this is me, this is mine".

Strengthening winds and lashing rain halted Lowry's charge towards the finish line as dropped shots at eight, nine and 11 to give Fleetwood hope.

Also on rt.com The Open 2019: Is a Shane Lowry championship victory a statistical inevitability? . Portrush resident Darren Clarke's 2011 Open win and McIlroy's four majors from 2011-2014 were also instrumental, once the specter of Northern Ireland's Troubles receded.

It was a strong showing from British golfers, who secured five of the top ten spots.

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