Irishman Wins British Open in Northern Ireland

By Maggie Holland, Assistant Editor
August / September 2019

I hadn’t drank a brandy since 2009,” said Emily Scanlon, grandmother of golfer Shane Lowry, after Lowry won the 148th British Open Championship on Sunday, July 21, at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. “I drank two yesterday. It’s nearly killing me.”

The 32-year-old Lowry from Clara, County Offaly, won the Irish Open back in 2009 as an amateur (and his grandmother had some brandy to celebrate). A decade later, he has become the second man from the Republic of Ireland to take home the famed Claret Jug, the other being Pádraig Harrington, who is now very good friends with Lowry and stood behind the 18th green waiting to congratulate him.

This year was only the second time that the Open has been held in Northern Ireland. The last time was in 1951, also at Royal Portrush.

“Everyone knows we’re all one country when it comes to golf,” Lowry said after the win. He marks his golf balls with a green shamrock.

“It’s huge for Irish golf. I think it’s big for Irish sport. It’s a very tight-knit community. I’d say people watched golf today that have never watched golf before.”

After the big win, Lowry celebrated with family, friends, and fans at a pub where they joyously sang beloved songs such as “My Little Honda 50” and “Fields of Athenry,” as Lowry cradled the Claret Jug. (Catch the celebration on YouTube).

Ranked 33rd going into the tournament, Lowry entered into the final day carrying a four-shot lead, which was never reduced to less than three, even with the five bogeys he shot that day. He ultimately won by six strokes over Tommy Fleetwood, achieving his first major championship as tens of thousands of fans in Northern Ireland cheered him on in the windy, rainy weather, waving tricolors.

“It was Shane’s time, Shane’s tournament,” said Fleetwood, the distant runner-up who also came in second at last year’s U.S. Open. “He literally controlled the tournament from the start of today until the end, and that’s a very, very impressive thing to do.” ♦

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