'I was so scared of messing it up again' - Shane Lowry reveals final day fears ahead of Open triumph
Star confided in his coach about anxiety which gripped him on the morning of his Open triumph
A mortal fear of failure drove Shane Lowry towards his Major breakthrough at Royal Portrush on Sunday.
The Clara star (32) romped to a glorious six-shot win in The Open to claim his maiden Major title just over three years after the US Open crown slipped through his fingers at Oakmont in Pittsburgh.
At no stage did Lowry doubt that he was good enough, but he feared the fates might conspire against him and that gave him a sleepless night as he prepared to take another four-shot lead into the final round on the Co Antrim coast.
"I told him I was so scared about messing it up," he revealed of his riverside walk with coach Neil Manchip in Bushmills on Sunday morning.
"I'd say I was more scared than having doubt in my head. I really, really wanted to win this one. I felt like it was my time to go and get it."
His caddie, Brian 'Bo' Martin, put it better: "The golf he's been playing, it's been flawless, really. He doesn't have to prove to anybody that he's a good player. But he had to prove it to himself, genuinely."
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Lowry woke up with the Claret Jug beside him in bed and cheekily posted a picture on social media: "I pulled last night."
His fans will be hoping he can 'pull again', but Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington does not believe The Open is "a stepping stone" for Lowry simply because there is no greater achievement in golf.
"This isn't a catalyst - this is it," Harrington said. "This is what it is. You shouldn't think of this as a stepping stone, you should think of this as where he is.
"I don't think too many players in the game of golf would relish playing against him in the final rounds."
Lowry has similar feelings and he's determined to push on now, insisting:
"Obviously, in the short term, I'm going to enjoy this, there's no doubt about that. But in the long term, want to back up your success."