Wednesday 19 September 2018

Golf hero agonises over joining pro ranks

Irish Open champion Shane Lowry got a tumultuous welcome when he arrived with his girlfriend Deirdre Molloy at his local golf club, Esker Hills, near Clara, Co Offaly last night
Irish Open champion Shane Lowry got a tumultuous welcome when he arrived with his girlfriend Deirdre Molloy at his local golf club, Esker Hills, near Clara, Co Offaly last night
Shane is welcomed as a hero at Esker Hills last night
Shane aged seven with sister Sinead showing an early hunger for trophies
Shane Lowry with his girlfriend Deirdre Molloy at his local golf club, Esker Hills, near Clara, Co Offaly, yesterday
Shane Lowry (middle) at home last year with (from left) his brother Alan, his mother Bridget, father Brendan and sister Sinead at their home in Clara, Co Offaly, with the Irish Close championship (left) and West of Ireland Championship trophies he won in 2008

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

AMATEUR golfing hero Shane Lowry is taking time off to make the biggest decision of his career.

But the 22-year-old, who stunned the sporting world by winning the Irish Open on his first outing at a professional event, says he will give his verdict on turning pro before the end of the week.

Agents called to his home in Clara throughout yesterday, but Lowry is not going to be rushed.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," he told the Irish Independent at Esker Hills golf club last night.

"I'm just trying to let it sink in and enjoy the moment. I'll know in the next few days if I'm going to turn pro.".

It is understood Lowry was in talks about securing sponsorship deals yesterday, however he wouldn't be drawn on the details.

"If you are thinking about money, you are thinking about the wrong thing in the long-term. When I make a decision it'll be based on what I think is best for me," he said.

His girlfriend, Deirdre Molloy, said she was "very excited" about Shane's future.

"It's always been his dream to play on the European tour. At the beginning all he wanted to do was make the cut," she said.

"I looked at my phone on Thursday, at the time he was in second position, I couldn't believe it. I went up on Friday and it was the best golf I've ever seen him play. I've followed him around before, but I've never seen him play so well. He likes Baltray, it's his favourite course," she added.

She said the win had already resulted in a "big change" to their lives. "I never imagined it would happen so quickly."

Esker Hills golf club in Ballykilmurray was inundated with visits to their website and with messages from around the world yesterday. Irish-born golfers in Sydney even contacted the club.

"It's going to put us on the map, we had over 4,000 hits on our website already today," said club trustee Jimmy O'Sullivan. Mr O'Sullivan said he would love to see a major Midlands company sponsoring the golfer.

"Wouldn't it be nice to have a local brand like Tullamore Dew behind him? It would be nice if it had a local flavour.

"Success couldn't have come to a nicer person, it's great for the club to share that, especially here in the middle of Ireland where we're trying to promote golf."

Greenkeeper Willie Allen said he hoped the win would finally bring credit to Esker Hills. "I think this is a great golf course but it hasn't got the recognition down through the years though."

Karl McGinty on Shane's big decision: See Sport

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