One week on and the reality of what has just occurred may be starting to sink in for newly crowned Champion golfer Shane Lowry. The 148th Open Championship finally returned to Royal Portrush Golf Club last week and what an event it was. After years of build up and anticipation, the worlds golfing elite all descended onto the small seaside town of Portrush in the hope of taking home the Claret Jug.
All the Irish contingent had tremendous support throughout the week. Rory McIlroy was unlucky to miss out on the cut by 1 shot after a stellar 65 on Friday but a disastrous round on the opening day had left him with too much to do. Darren Clarke looked set to head into the weekend as well only for a triple bogey on the 18th left him 2 shy of the cut. Attention quickly turned to Shane Lowry as he went into the weekend still in contention and playing some spectacular golf. And then came Saturday.
With the sun-shining and the crowds in their thousands, Lowry took to the 1st tee unknowing that he was going to shoot a round for the ages. A couple of hours later, Shane was walking down the 18th fairway with chants of “Ole, Ole, Ole” coming from the crowds that had gathered to watch him. Shane managed to shoot -8 for his day and go into the final round with a 4 shot lead over England’s Tommy Fleetwood. Saturdays round was not only the new course record at Royal Portrush but the second lowest round ever recorded in a Major Championship.
The final pairing on Sunday left it all down to match play between Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood. The chasing pack of Rose, Fowler, Koepka etc.. all got off to terrible starts and with the weather only getting worse, nothing was going to come easy. Fleetwood had his chances throughout the round but could never capitalize on any of Lowry’s mistakes. Lowry on the other hand hit the shots when they were need and holed the putts at the right time to keep daylight between himself and Fleetwood. The scenes on the 18th hold were something to behold. Reminiscent of Tigers Tour championship win last year, thousands upon thousands of spectators flocked to see Shane hoist the Claret Jug. It seemed somewhat of a fairtytale ending for Shane, who just last year admitted he had sat in his car crying after missing the cut at Carnoustie and began contemplating his golfing future. There was no such misery this year around with scenes of pure ecstasy as he embraced his parents and family on the 18th green. A very worthy winner for what was an enthralling tournament that put both Portrush and the North of Ireland on the golfing worlds map.