32-year-old Irishman Shane Lowry defeated Tommy Fleetwood of England by six-shots to claim the $10,750,000 148th Open title at Royal Portrush, the venue to which the tournament returned after 68 years.
Lowry started his final round four-shot ahead of Fleetwood and did not look remotely troubled — even in the face of the continuous downpour and gusty winds.
Lowry carded one-over-par 72 for a total score of 15-under 269 and was rewarded with wild celebrations as the fans charged on to the fairway behind him as he approached the 18th green.
Players from Ireland and Northern Ireland have won five of the past 13 Opens, with Darren Clarke (2011) and Rory McIlroy (2014) also hoisting the Claret Jug.
Harrington and 2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell were among those who greeted Lowry next to the 18th green. McIlroy, the local favourite who missed the cut, was no doubt cheering from afar, Irish eyes smiling.
Previously, Lowry came close to winning a major in 2016 at the $10,000,000 US Open where he entered the final round with a four-shot lead, just like this one, but faltered to capitalise on it. He ended up shooting a 76 in the final round to finish three-shot behind Dustin Johnson, the eventual winner, for a T-2 position on the board. He was joined by Jim Furyk and Scott Piercy.
“I got off to a very shaky start,” said Lowry, who had to sink a six-foot putt to salvage bogey at the first. “I didn’t feel great out there. It’s probably the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt on a golf course. You’re trying to win an Open in your home country, it’s incredibly difficult.” Lowry, with his win, now moves to World No. 17 from 33.
Shane Lowry with his claim now entitled to –
- PRIZE MONEY – $1,935,000
- GOLD MEDAL
- CUSTODY OF CLARET JUG FOR A YEAR
- AT THE OPEN UNTIL HE TURNS 60 (27 MORE YEARS, IF HE FEELS UP FOR IT!)
- PGA TOUR EXEMPTION FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
- EUROPEAN TOUR EXEMPTION FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS
- INVITATION TO THE NEXT FIVE MASTERS, US PGA, US OPEN AND PLAYERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENTS
Shubhankar Sharma’s dream final round
23-year-old and the only Indian in the field, Shubhankar Sharma — who was celebrating
his birthday on the same day — was greeted with warmth from the audiences in the gallery and followers on the course. Sharma, who finished T-51 at the event, shot rounds of 79, 72, 77, and 68, to match his results from the previous edition of the Open.
Sharma’s final round 68 made the day even more special and made for his career-best round at a major, considering this is just his fifth major over the past year. His T-51 position made him richer by $28,317.
“I’m not used to doing much on my birthday, but the last two birthdays have been very special,” said Sharma.
“Last year I was in the Open as well. I was in a restaurant and the whole restaurant got up and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ for me. Now to see the grandstand singing it, it’s very, very special. It’s always special playing the Open. And this is just — I couldn’t ask for a better thing.”