Shane Lowry blitzes Open field to win first Major by country mile 3 weeks ago

Shane Lowry blitzes Open field to win first Major by country mile

Shane Lowry played a solid final round at the 148th Open Championship and has deservedly won The Claret Jug, his first ever 'Major'.

The 32-year-old from Offaly started the final day at Royal Portrush four clear and the closest the chasing pack ever got to him was three. When the final shot sank into the cup on 18, Shane Lowry had beaten the very best in the world by a country mile.

Credit: NBC Sports

Lowry bogeyed the first hole after a wayward tee-shot put him in trouble only for his putter to get him out of a deeper hole. He rebounded with pars on two and three and was surely put at ease by playing partner Tommy Fleetwood's struggles off the tee.

The clutch moment of the front nine arrived on the fairway of the fourth hole. The safe approach would have been hitting the heart of the green, 20 feet to the right of the flag, but Lowry went for it and produced a stunner:

Lowry rattled home that birdie putt and followed that up with another on the next hole. When he rolled in a birdie on the par-five 7th, Lowry was up to -18 and was six clear.

There was another wobble, approaching the turn, when Lowry gave back shots on eight and nine. Fleetwood was battling the elements and his own wayward game, though, so the home favourite was never under serious pressure.

Lowry himself loosened the valve with a great up and down for par on the 10th. Fleetwood missed a putt from inside Lowry's position on the green and the lead was back to six. At this stage, Tony Finau and Lee Westwood were best of the chasing pack at -8 and eight back.

The back nine at Royal Portrush has been notoriously tough all week and there has been no hole tougher than the par-four 11th, which was proving tough to reach in two.

Both Fleetwood and Lowry did reach the green but were left with long birdie putts. The Englishman lagged his putt well for a handy par but Lowry left himself short and paid for it by missing left and bogeying to slip back to -15.

The 12th was altogether more routine as Lowry lagged a long birdie putt for a tap-in par before he produced a sublime bunker shot on 13 before squeaking one in the side-door from just three feet away. It was nervy putt but it was another par and another hole chalked off.

Remarkably, it was a Lowry bogey on the 14th - his fifth drop shot of the day - that saw him stretch his lead to five. Fleetwood was in all sorts of bother from the tee, overshot the green and then missed a long bogey putt to drop two shots back to -9.

Most of the tens of thousands in attendance at Royal Portrush were anticipating a Lowry victory at this stage and, within 15 minutes, the deal was effectively sealed on the 15th green. The Clara native was solid off the tee and, from a prime position on the fairway, chipped to within 12 feet and sank the resulting birdie putt.

That put the world No.33 six clear with three to go and bellows of 'Olé, Olé, Olé!' rang out around the County Antrim course.

The 17th saw him, now purring, handily make another par after having a cheeky look with a birdie effort. All that was left was for Lowry to soak up the celebrations, and adulation, down the 18th.

There was some swagger off the tee as he found the fairway and held his pose, before letting out a huge sigh of relief. The engraver was already etching his name on the most famous trophy in golf, and photographers were jostling for position around the final green, but Lowry had to finish this one out.

Fittingly, Lowry rolled in the final putt to seal his Open triumph and ensure one hell of an Irish party in Portrush.