Shane Lowry wins first major at historic Open Championship

Jack Rosser

Shane Lowry has won The Open Championship, battling through torrid conditions to claim a first major title.

The Irishman, who shot a third round course record to hold an overnight lead of four shots, as he did going into the final round of the 2016 US Open where he signed for a final round 76, remained clear of the chasing pack as winds touching 30mph and torrential rain pushed players to the very limit on the Antrim coast.

Many thought the 32-year-old, from south of the boarder in County Offaly, would buckle under the pressure with the entire island or Ireland hoping to see him get over the line in the first Open held outside of Scotland and England since 1951, a Championship few thought would return to Northern Ireland.

A bogey on the first cut his lead ahead of Tommy Fleetwood to three but the Englishman could not find his best form as Lowry made three birdies from the 4th to the 7th before horrendous conditions, which had forced the tee times forward, brought three bogeys across the next four holes.

Fleetwood, though, struggled to capitalise until he threatened to make the home stretch interesting with a birdie on the par five, 12th to shorten the lead to four shots with six holes remaining. Both in the final group were wayward on the next, a par three, with Fleetwood going long and Lowry finding the sand. Both made their pars as Lowry moved another step closer to glory.

A double bogey from Tommy Fleetwood at the 14th placed the Claret Jug firmly in the hands of Lowry, five shots clear once more with four to play as the Englishman’s challenge faded. A Lowry birdie on the par four, 15th sending roars around the northern coast once more.

From there it was all but won as Lowry began to soak up the outstanding atmosphere. Ireland has always been one nation when it comes to golf, never more so here.

Pars came on the 16th and 17th before that fabled walk down the last, Lowry serenaded by enormous crowds the whole way as his mask began to slip. A grin and a small raised fist to the fans before hitting his second shot. The approach was safe and up went both arms, a hug for caddie Bo and the adulation was deafening as his father, Brendan, embraced Graeme McDowell behind the green.

Two putts sealed his place in history, an Irish name on the Claret Jug for the first time since Padraig Harrington in 2008.

There would be no challenge from Lee Westwood, who many had hoped to see claim his first major title at the age of 46, as he shot a two over 73, while Brooks Koepka, who had finished first or second in the three earlier majors, ruined his chances in opening with four consecutive bogeys.

All eyes, though, were on Lowry. The man who announced himself over a decade ago in winning the Irish Open as an amateur on home soil took the biggest step any golfer can make with a nation willing him on.

Here is the leaderboard after the 148th Open Championship...