Categorized | Golf, Golf news, The Open

Shane Lowry’s career does 360 after a stunning victory at Royal Portrush

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 21th July 2019 - Picture Matt Mackey / Press Eye. The 148th Open at Royal Portrush. Round 4. Shane Lowry.

32 year old Offaly native, Shane Lowry not only realized a childhood dream winnings the British Open at Royal Portrush yesterday but has regained his confidence after securing his tour card in Europe for the next ten years.

This time last year, Lowry was in a bad place. He failed to make the cut at Carnoustie, had only one win in six years and was at risk of losing his PGA Tour card so his future looked bleak. It was difficult to watch the young golfer break down in his car, weeping with disappointment.

He said of that time “I sat in the car park in Carnoustie on the Thursday and I cried. Golf wasn’t my friend at the time. It was something that had become very stressful and it was weighing on me and I just didn’t like doing it. What a difference a year makes I suppose.”

And what a year it has been, Lowry is like a phoenix rising from the ashes winning the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January this year and now the 148th British Open on Irish soil at Royal Portrush yesterday. This is his first major win and his ranking has gone from 33rd to 17th in the World. He tributes his success to his coach Neil Manchip and his new partnership with caddie Brian ‘Bo’ Martin.

He said of his caddie and friend “Bo has been incredible the last year. He’s brought a new lease of life to me. He is so thrilled. He was unbelievable today. He kept on my back all day, kept talking to me, he kept in my ear. I kept on telling him how nervous I was, how scared I was, how much I didn’t want to mess it up.

“All I could think about was walking down 18 with a four- or five-shot lead. And lucky I got to do that. He was great at keeping me in the moment today. He’s been great for me. Obviously we formed a great relationship and it was amazing for him today. I’ve known Bo a long time. He’s now become a very good friend of mine. And to be able to share it with someone so close was very special.

Lowry led the field at Royal Portrush from the outset but although confidant he wasn’t taking anything for granted. On Saturday he put on an epic performance setting a course record of eight-under-par 63, which gave him a four stroke lead going into the final day. Lowry had a restless night, worrying he would mess up his opportunity to bag his first masters and on home soil. He told the media “I didn’t even know going out this morning if I was good enough to win a major,”

Caddie Brian“Bo” Martin stayed close, supported him and reinforced his concentration across the eighteen holes. After a ropey tee shot on the first, he went ahead by one shot when Fleetwood missed a birdy.Lowry extended his lead with a birdie on the fourth and both players birdied the next before Lowry demonstrated the short-game skills honed in chipping competitions against Harrington by getting up and down from short of the seventh green to pick up another shot. The entire field seemed to be struggling with the woeful weather on the tough course. Lowry recovered from three bogeys in the space of four holes from the eighth with a crucial birdie on the 15th which had the home crowd wildly singing “Ole Ole Ole!”

It also meant Lowry’s name was etched on the Claret Jug by the time he stepped on to the 18th tee and a regulation par sealed an emphatic triumph, Lowry hugging his caddie  ‘Bo’ Martin before being embraced by wife Wendy and two-year-old daughter Iris.

Lowry recalled “I hit my tee shot on 18 and I knew I was home and hosed”

“I knew I was going to have to fight to the very end, and I did. I let myself think about it on 17, enjoy it. But you’re still hitting shots. It’s links golf, there are bunkers, rough, all sorts can happen out there.

“I let myself really, really enjoy it going down 18. It was incredible. The crowd was going wild singing ‘ole ole’. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me.

“I tried to soak it in as much as I could. It was hard because it was a very surreal experience going down there.”

It was a remarkable and unforgettable day for not only for Lowry but for Ireland as a nation!

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