Shane Lowry lights up Open with stunning charge

Tanya Simon
July 21, 2019

Only one player can realistically prevent the biggest golfing party ever seen on the Emerald Isle from exploding into life at Royal Portrush on Sunday.

Fleetwood is ready for the challenge.

Shane Lowry was crowned The Open champion as he finished 15 under par at the Royal Portrush on Sunday. Hopefully there will still be some people out there rooting for me.

Fleetwood - easily identifiable because of his flowing locks and rock-star looks - is one of the nice guys in golf, hugely popular in Europe.

Ordinarily, few would pay attention to the player lurking seven behind, tied for fourth with Justin Rose.

"Part of me is very disappointed not to be here for the weekend", he said.

Another wayward drive and bogey at the ninth left Lowry on the same score as he started the day, 16-under par, as he turned for home.

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The world No.33 will play in the final group alongside English Ryder Cup hero Tommy Fleetwood, who shot 66, with American JB Holmes two further back at 10 under. He didn't do too bad himself. Lowry never recovered from a hard start at Oakmont and struggled to a six-over 76, eventually finishing three shots adrift of Dustin Johnson - who himself had to endure a nervy penalty-shot controversy to win what is to date his only victory in one of golf's big four.

If the Irishman was filled with nerves starting the day with a four-shot lead, it was not obvious early on apart from the iron shot that launched his round on the par-four first at Royal Portrush which he pulled into the rough.

"He has an incredible short game", Fleetwood said. If you look at what (Ben) Hogan did with his setup, it looked not square at all but he was able to flush it. He rebounded with birdies on Nos. 7, 10 and 12 moved him into a share of the lead on each occasion. He ran it about 8 feet by, and when it caught the lip and spun away, Holmes dropped the putter in disbelief.

Lowry saved his best until the closing stages, reeling off three consecutive birdies to send the crowd into raptures, before coming agonisingly close to adding another on the last.

"Tommy's playing very well", said Lee Westwood, another Englishman and Fleetwood's playing partner on Saturday. "If I could get a little bit more control of that I think I could have won some more tournaments, but I still have that opportunity". High winds picked up as the morning turned to afternoon, pushing balls off course and making it almost impossible to be consistent hitting fairways and greens.

"I felt like I was hitting good, solid putts, they just weren't getting there".

Fervently cheered on every shot by the sellout crowd, the 32-year-old from Clara was never seriously troubled in the final round as he carded one-over-par 72 in strong winds and intermittent rain which buffeted the late starters.

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