Shane Lowry’s timeline countdown: To the Claret Jug
The Irishman’s final round at Portrush on Sunday as he won the British Open title
British Open Champion Shane Lowry of Ireland celebrates with family and friends on the 18th green at Portrush. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
12.04pm: Shane Lowry arrives to the golf course, jumps out of the car and walks in hand-in-hand with daughter Iris, brother, Alan, Brian Moran and Alan Clancy. The breeze is freshening appreciably but the heavy stuff isn’t due until 3.0pm.
12.50am: Lowry crosses the bridge on his way to catch a buggy and head for the driving range.
1.29pm: Rickie Fowler pulls his opening tee shot out of bounds and it costs him a double bogey to drop to six under. Amazingly in the very next match another American JB Holmes suffers a similar fate in every respect, out of bounds and a double bogey.
1.32pm: Lee Westwood said on Saturday that no lead is big enough and that there was 100 times more pressure on Lowry. The Englishman misses a two foot putt for par on the first green.
13.42pm: Lowry makes his way to the first tee and receives a huge ovation. Tommy Fleetwood arrives about 20 seconds later and the two share a warm handshake. Fleetwood splits the fairway but Lowry pulls his into the rough.
1.51pm: Koepka (-8) bogeys the first, Willett (-8) birdies the second, Westwood (-9) birdies two and chips in on three for another.
1.59pm: Lowry (-15) holes a six foot putt for bogey having watched Fleetwood (-12) miss from seven feet. The Irishman’s lead is three but that could have been a great deal worse.
2.06pm: Lowry’s (-15) pursuers continue to falter for the most part, Koepka (-7) opens with a brace of bogeys, Justin Rose (-8) drops a shot at the third and Thomas (-7) at the ninth. Fowler (-8) gets back the two shots with birdies at the second and third.
2.27pm: Fleetwood (-11) had two very good birdie chances on the first and second holes but missed the green at the third and can’t get up and down. Lowry’s (-15) lead is back to four shots. Fowler (-9) makes three straight birdies after a double bogey at the first. only three players in the last seven groups are under par for their respective rounds.
2.29pm: Koepka and Holmes (-7) are dragging each other into the abyss, a combined seven over par through four holes but an eagle for Koepka at five partially repairs the damage.
2.38pm: Lowry (-16) with a gorgeous four-iron to six feet and he drains it for birdie; Fleetwood’s (-11) effort came up two rolls short in the jaws. The Irishman leads by five with 14-holes to go. The rain is now coming down in earnest.
2.47pm: Fleetwood (-12) drives the par four fifth, Lowry comes up 40-yards short of the green but both walk off with a birdie; the Englishman watches his eagle putt dive left. Lowry’s six-footer was silky smooth and he retains a five shot lead. Westwood (-10) – his putting has been rank – and Fowler (-9) aside, the rest look too far back.
3.02pm: Gutsy from Fleetwood (-12) he misses the green on the par three sixth but gets up and down.
3.10pm: Graeme McDowell (+4) finishes his final round to a thunderous ovation, an appropriate metaphor given the weather. It is chucking it down.
3.21pm: Lowry (-18) with a third birdie in four holes, shows his short game wizardry once again, as he chips to three feet . Fleetwood (-12) in trouble off the tee shows his mettle by getting up and down from a greenside trap. The Irishman is six ahead with 11 to play.
3.37pm: Fleetwood (-11) and Lowry (-17) both in trouble off the tee, make bogeys on the eighth.
3.57pm: Lowry (-16) with back to back bogeys – level for the front nine – and Fleetwood (-11) closes the gap to five shots as the final group head for the back nine. The chasing pack has disappeared in the gloom. It’s a three-way shootout.
4.15pm: A tale of two knee-trembler putts, Lowry (-16) holes a nasty five-footer down the slope, Fleetwood (-10) misses from a couple of inches shorter: six ahead with eight to play. Westwood (-8) is heading in the wrong direction with a bogey on 12.
4.31pm: Lowry (-15) three putts from the 30 feet on 11. Lead back to five.
4.50pm: Make that four, Fleetwood (-11) birdies the par five 12th and Lowry can’t..
5.02pm: Both get up and down on 13, Lowry (-15) from the sand, Fleetwood (-11) with a smooth five foot par putt.
5.20pm: The moment? Lowry (-14) bogeys but Fleetwood racks up a double (-9). Lowry’s face is a window to his emotions. Caddie Bo Martin makes his player smile and the tension drains away.
5.32pm: Birdie! Lowry (-15) clenches his fist as he rolls in a seven footer on 15; six clear. He played that hole beautifully as he does 16 and 17. No fuss, one hand on the Claret Jug.
5.57pm: Lowry’s name is engraved on the band around the Claret Jug while he stands on the 18th tee.
6.09pm: Lowry two putts from the fringe. Arms aloft, he is the British Open champion, the sixth Irishman to win a Major, 10 of them coming in the last 12 years. ‘Hon Offaly.