Shane Lowry has won his first major after clinching the 2019 Open Championship in Portrush after a dramatic final day of action in Co. Antrim.
Lowry entered today with a four-shot lead over his nearest challenger Tommy Fleetwood after playing some superb golf on the opening three days of the competition.
With the weather forecast predicting high winds and heavy rains at the links course on the Antrim coast, today was always going to be about damage limitation.
Understandably, Lowry was nervous on the opening hole as he hit his tee shot into heavy rough. This ended up in a bogey for the Offaly man as Fleetwood secured par to cut the lead to just three shots.
Lowry settled down and hit back-to-back pars on the second and third while Fleetwood bogeyed the third to stretch the lead back to four shots.
The 32-year-old from Clara then secured back-to-back birdies on four and five to open up a five-shot lead going into the sixth hole. Both golfers secured par on the next hole before Lowry clinched another birdie on the seventh to open up a six-shot lead.
However, the already difficult conditions took a turn for the worse as a heavy downpour affected both players as the duo bogeyed the eighth.
Lowry shot another bogey on the ninth as Fleetwood secured par to cut the deficit to five shots.
The six-shot lead was restored when Lowry did brilliantly to save par on the 10th as Fleetwood missed a par putt to record another bogey.
Fleetwood is in a bit of trouble. 😨
He registers his third bogey of the day, meaning Lowry has a 6-shot lead with 8 holes left.
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) July 21, 2019
Fleetwood kept battling as he secured two pars and a birdie on the next three holes while Lowry bogeyed one and parred two.
Things were heating up with a four-shot lead going into the Par 4 14th and Lowry’s lead over Fleetwood was extended as he bogeyed the hole and the Englishman double-bogeyed.
The finish line was in sight for Lowry as he birdied the 15th, the first of his back-nine to regain his six-shot lead as Fleetwood, whose challenge was dwindling, could only manage par.
The difficult 16th hole beckoned but Lowry held his nerve to secure par, as did Fleetwood, to keep his six-shot lead going into the final two holes.
Both players secured par on the 17th before Lowry walked to the 18th green amidst euphoric scenes to clinch his first-ever major title with six shots to spare.