Wild scenes of joy as Lowry raises the Claret Jug

Irish man sixth to win one of golf’s Majors and fifth to lay claim to the Claret Jug

Open winner Shane Lowry received a hero's welcome as he walked to the 18th green to sink his winning par putt to clinch the Claret Jug. Video: Perform/Reuters

 

Maybe he didn’t need any outside assistance, but Bridget Lowry – Shane’s mother – took no chances.

She kept vigil inside Royal Portrush Golf Club with a statue of St Anthony as her son worked wonders of his own in claiming the 148th British Open, a victory which earned the 32-year-old Offaly man a payday of €1.7 million.

Lowry became the sixth Irishman to win one of golf’s Major championships, and the fifth to lay claim to the Claret Jug. However, his was a history-making achievement in that he is the only Irish player to win a Major on the island of Ireland, a unique feat that was greeted by strains of Óle, Óle, Óle resounding around the north Antrim sand hills.

In an emotional tribute to Lowry’s victory, family and friends gathered at the rear of the 18th green as the player was acclaimed by the masses in the grandstands, and there were plenty of tears among them to accompany the rain which had been a constant presence throughout the afternoon.

Lowry’s wife Wendy and two-year-old daughter Iris, his parents Bridget and Brendan, and other family members were joined by golfers Pádraig Harrington, who started this golden generation of Irish players winning Majors with his success in the 2007 championship, Graeme McDowell and former player Gary Murphy, who was such a help when Lowry first went out on tour a decade ago.

“I grew up holing putts back home to win the Open. It was always the Open, wasn’t it?” said Lowry of how as a young child he would dream of winning the Claret Jug.

Lowry, from Clara, Co Offaly, became the latest name to be engraved on the famous trophy. “It’s just incredible to be sitting here with a trophy in front of me. Look at the names on it. Yeah, I just can’t believe. It’s not going to sink in for a couple of days, is it?”

Apart from the monetary benefits, the win earns Lowry an exemption into future British Opens until his 60th birthday, as well as five-year exemptions into the other three Majors – the US Masters, US Open and US PGA – in a life-changing achievement.

More immediately, Lowry has cancelled plans to play in this week’s WGC-St Jude Invitational in Memphis, US, so that he can stay at home to celebrate the victory.

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