Thursday 8 December 2016

Family celebrate 'surreal' victory as Shane Lowry jumps up world rankings after €1.45m Bridgestone success

Granny Lowry among those

Published 10/08/2015 | 07:31

Shane Lowry holds the Gary Player Cup after winning the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational during the final round at Firestone Country Club South Course
Shane Lowry holds the Gary Player Cup after winning the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational during the final round at Firestone Country Club South Course
Shane Lowry waves to the crowd after winning the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament, in Akron, Ohio
Shane Lowry reacts after a par putt during the final round of the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club

Offaly's Shane Lowry admitted he is struggling to describe his emotions after his stunning victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational yesterday.

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Lowry held off the challenge of three major champions to claim the biggest victory of his career and a cheque for €1.45m after a stunning final round of 66 at Firestone Country and climbs 29 places in the world rankings to move to 19th in the world.

The impeccable round saw Lowry finish 11 under par, two shots ahead of double Masters champion Bubba Watson, with Justin Rose and Jim Furyk another two shots back after disappointing rounds of 72.

"Wow! Can't put into words how I'm feeling now. Thanks to everyone for their support. #winnerwinner," he posted on his Twitter account afterwards.

Read more: 'The phone was hopping with texts. It's a life-changing moment' – Shane Lowry's uncle on stunning US success

"It's hard to believe but I played good today," Lowry told Sky Sports after collecting the trophy. "I was quite nervous out there towards the end but made a lot of good decisions, hit the ball well and got a bit of luck as well which was nice.

"It's great to be able to pull something off. I was kind of doubting myself a little this year, things haven't been going my way but when you come out the other end it's always nice."

Lowry began the final round two shots off the lead shared by former US Open champions Rose and Furyk, but wiped out the deficit with birdies on the second and eighth.

And when he produced a spectacular recovery following a wayward tee shot on the 10th, the resulting tap-in birdie gave the 28-year-old a two-shot lead over the chasing pack.

Watson then recorded his fourth birdie in six holes on the 13th to close within a shot and Furyk did likewise with a birdie on the 11th, only to promptly bogey the next after chipping from one side of the green off the other.

Read more: Video: Watch Shane Lowry's home golf club go berserk as Offaly man claims incredible victory

And when Watson also dropped a shot on the 15th, Lowry was two in front again and maintained that advantage with a superb par save from 20 feet on the 14th after finding a fairway bunker off the tee.

"That was massive," Lowry admitted. "The bunker was pretty dead and even with my pitch I could not go at the flag and just had to hope to hole a long putt."

Watson closed within a shot once more thanks to a brilliant birdie on the 17th, following a wild drive with a superb approach up and over a tree to within seven feet of the hole.

A drive of 379 yards down the 18th gave Watson the chance of another birdie, but this time his approach finished 25 feet from the hole and the left-hander had to settle for par.

Read more: Ireland's sports stars have been queuing up to salute Shane Lowry on Twitter

The resulting 66 set the clubhouse target at nine under par and left Lowry needing to par the final two holes for victory. He held his nerve to hole from five feet on the 17th but looked to be in trouble when he pulled his tee shot on the last into the trees.

However, the former Irish Open champion - he was still an amateur when he won the title in 2009 - found a good lie in the rough and powered a wedge over the trees to 11 feet, from where he holed for a birdie to make certain of the first prize of 1,570,000 US dollars.

"I was trying to get it on the front right of the green but pulled it a little bit, it went through the tree and rest is history," Lowry added.

Lowry's uncle Sean paid tribute to the mental resolve of his nephew while admitting it was still only beginning to sink in.

"It was kind of surreal," he conceded. I always thought he was good enough and has the magic and that is what you need at this level.

"He showed some composure and bottle. It's life changing as Paul McGinley said last night.

Read more: Did you see that incredible shot from Shane Lowry at the Bridgestone Invitational?

"I know he is a confident guy, but he was never arrogant. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. He is such a lovely fella, such an ambassador, such a joy to be around."

"We went over to Brendan and Brigid's house in Clara [after winning the tournament]. They were all up. Shane's granny was there from the Scanlon side.

"It was great. It hasn't really sunk in yet."

Esker Hills Golf Club, Lowry's home club, witnessed unbridled celebrations as a huge crowd gathered to watch the biggest win of the local hero's career at Firestone County.

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