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By : BGA Proshop
To win the oldest golf major in the world is special but the feeling of winning the Open Championship in front of your home crowd must be amazing. After his third-round Shane Lowry was asked how it felt on the golf course in front the crowds and his response was “the most incredible day I've had on the golf course” after shooting a 63 and opening a 4 shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood. Lowry round on Saturday was one for the ages. He finished with 8 birdies and no bogeys and was prime to win his first major.
After his round on Saturday, he reflected on it at the press conference.
Asked on Sunday if he was nervous heading into the round “I slept for about four or five hours last night, and I normally throw a good eight or 10 hours at it,” he said. “So wake up in the middle of the night thinking about all sorts. And I was awake at half 6am.
The Open Championship was Lowry to lose and normally a 4 shot lead is comfortable but on a golf course like Royal Portrush and with weather rolling in the conditions turned wild. The field knew that they had to chase Lowry but they also knew that they needed Lowry to come back to the field.
It was the first hole on the final day which made things very interesting. With out of bounds on both the left and right-hand side and the crowds overflowing the tee shot was as intimidating as any in golf. The chasing pack knew they needed to have got off to a strong start but this is where a few got unstuck.
The first was Rickie Fowler who started the day at 8 under. Unfortunately, he blocked his tee shot right out of bounds and made a double bogey. He fought back with 3 straight birdies over the next 3 holes but being 8 under at the start and 8 behind the leader Lowry the damage was done.
The next was JB Holmes who was known on tour as a notoriously slow player. He was paired with Brooks Koepka and you will have to google what an interesting round these two had but he pulled his tee shot on the first left and that went out of bounds. Holmes never recovered after the first tee shot and went on to shot a round of 87 which dropped him 64 places and cost him $700 k in the process.
Koepka who we just mentioned was a serious contender and was still a threat at 9 under. Being 7 back from the leader, he had to be taken seriously with the way he had performed in recent majors. He still holds the record to have won more majors than PGA Tour events and was hoping for a solid start. He too got stuck and started his Sunday round with 4 straight bogeys which was out of character for the champ. He bounced back with an eagle on the 5th hole but like Fowler, the damage had been done and his round was pretty over.
After his round, he was asked about his poor start, his playing partner JB Holmes and pointing to his wrist at a rules official.
“There are a lot of slow guys out here, that’s not the first time I’ve done it, especially when you’ve got a walking official with you,” Koepka said. “I’m ready to go most of the time. That’s what I don’t understand when it’s your turn to hit, your glove is not on, then you start thinking about it, that’s where the problem lies.
“It’s not that he takes that long. He doesn’t do anything until his turn. That’s the frustrating part. But he’s not the only one that does it out here.”
“He had a rough day, but JB is a slow player,” Koepka said. “We were on pace for 13 holes, but if I’m in the group we’re going to be on pace no matter what. But there were some times where I thought it was slow.”
As the field struggled that just pretty much left Tommy Fleetwood and Lowry. Fleetwood was the closest to challenge Lowry and had an opportunity for a two-shot swing on the first hole but failed to convert his birdie. Lowry pulled his tee shot left and had to hack it out short of the green. His third came up way short of the pin again and had a long two-putt to save bogey. Meanwhile, Fleetwood had flushed a wood down the middle of the fairway and in trying condition stiffed his approach but his birdie putt just would not drop and that was the story of his day. Fleetwood putts kept burning the edges of the hole and was not able to put any pressure on Lowry.
When the weather really turned and the rain was pelting down Lowry was able to play his best golf. After his bogey on the first, he went on to birdie the 4th, 5th and 7th. He did give them back on the 8th and 9th but turned the 9 with an even-par 36. He had opened a 5 shot lead over Fleetwood and it was his to lose. Lowry did bogey the 11th and 14th but bounced back with a birdie on the 15th to all but secure the Open Championship. After his round, he said it was not until the last hole after he had hit his approach that he could enjoy the atmosphere and the crowd.
“Honestly I feel like I was in an out-of-body experience,” the Irishman said. “I was so calm coming down the last. I couldn’t believe it. The crowd is going wild singing, “Ole! Ole!”
“I spotted my family when I walked around the corner and to be honest, I welled up a little bit and my caddy Bo told me to catch a hold of myself, I still have to hit a shot. Thankfully I hit a decent shot in there and two-putted.
“Earlier I told my caddie that I couldn’t stop thinking about winning, but he said: ‘Stay with me, stay with me,’ and kept on my back. What a job he did. I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow morning, and find out what it’s going to feel like then. It’s just going to be incredible!”
“Golf is a weird sport and you never know what’s around the corner,” Lowry said. “I sat in the car park in Carnoustie, almost a year ago right to this week, and I cried. Golf wasn’t my friend at the time. It was something that become very stressful and it was weighing on me and I just didn’t like doing it. What a difference a year makes.”
Shane Lowry's press conference after this final round.