Ireland’s Shane Lowry came from nowhere to snatch his first major win with the Open title at Royal Portrush.
The amiable Irishman, 32, won by six shots with a 15 under par return from England’s Tommy Fleetwood.
With the crowd clearly on his side, Lowry and the other golfers battled against a heavy storm to reach the end of the match.
“I grew up holing putts to win The Open. It was always The Open,” said Lowry.
“It’s just incredible to be sitting here with the trophy in front of me. Look at the names on it. I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
A win for the Irish
Rated as the world 33 and up against most of the other top-seeded players, his grit and determination led him to lift his first Major trophy.
And it was a popular win celebrated by thousands of fans.
In fact, Ireland came together for a while – it didn’t matter if you were from the North or Republic, Catholic or Protestant, it was an Irish win in from of an Irish crowd.
Boy did that celebrate, as the town went wild until the small hours.
Lowry had knocked on the door of a major win just once before – in the 2016 US Open.
He started the final day with the same score, but the match slipped away. This time, he was tougher and more disciplined and carried through to the end as a deserved champion.
Ryder Cup goal
“I let myself really, really enjoy it going down 18. It was incredible. The crowd was going wild singing. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me,” he said.
“I tried to soak it in as much as I could. It was hard because it was a very surreal experience going down there.”
“It’s huge for Irish golf. It’s big for Irish sport. People will have watched golf that never watched golf before.”
Lowry is determined not be one of golf’s one hit wonders.
“The one thing you want to do is back up your success,” said Lowry. “In the short term I’m going to enjoy this.
“My big goal still remains the same and that is to be on the plane going to the Ryder Cup next year – hopefully that involves a couple of wins along the way.”