13 February 2020

Fifth Irishman to Win Claret Jug

After failing at the 2016 US Open, Shane Lowry finally captured his first major at the 148th Open Championship. The 32-year-old Irishman learned from his mistakes to claim a major victory and garner more attention in the sports world. How well do you know the Irishman who conquered Royal Portrush Golf Club? Here are some facts about the fifth ever Irishman to lift the Claret Jug after Fred Daly, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, and Rory McIlroy:

What was Lowry’s greatest achievement as an amateur?
Lowry made headlines when he won the 2009 Irish Open as a 22-year-old amateur. He beat Robert Rock in a play-off.

In 2009 he turned professional. How did his entrance to professional golf go?
Despite defeating Rock in a play-off, Lowry wasn’t allowed to accept the prize money since he was an amateur. Rock walked away with the first prize of €500,000. Lowry decided to turn professional after this but missed the cut in his first three events in the paid ranks.

What did he do with his first cheque? 
“I think my first pay cheque was €16,000 from the French Open and the first thing I did was I went home and gave my granny €500 because she always looked after me when I was younger,” Lowry recalled, as quoted by

Lowry finally won the Open Championship on his fifth attempt. How did he fair in his previous four attempts before 2019?
He missed the cut in all four of his Open Championship starts before winning the Open in his fifth. Lowry shot 73-72 at St. Andrews in 2015, 78-71 at Royal Troon in 2016, 72-78 at Royal Birkdale in 2017, and 74-73 last year at Carnoustie.

How did he feel after winning the Claret Jug?
“Wow. It was a dream, really. Like so many other kids, I stood on practice greens thinking, this one is for the Open. Growing up in the UK or Ireland, that’s what you do. When I knocked it in, it was like, what do I do? I raised my arms. I hugged my caddie [Bo Martin]. My wife, Wendy, came out. My parents were there,” explained Lowry.

Which is Lowry’s favorite golf course?
Portmarnock Golf Course, which dates back to 1894 and hosted the first Irish Open in 1927 is his favorite. “It’s the best,” Lowry said, as quoted by Golf Digest. “It’s a proper championship golf. It’s not the most visually appealing course, but it’s a proper test.” 

What is one of Lowry’s goals for 2020? 
Lowry wants to play in the Ryder Cup for the first time. His win in Abu Dhabi and at the Open Championship increase Lowry's chances of becoming a member of the European team at Whistling Straits in 2020. “I love playing the European Tour,” Lowry said after his win at the Open. “That's my focus [for] the next 12 months.”

Lowry came close to his first major at the US Open in 2016, however, he failed to make it happen. How did he respond to this failure?
Starting the final round with a three-shot lead, Lowry finished the closing round at T2, three-shots behind the winner, Dustin Johnson. “I’m bitterly disappointed but I’m definitely good enough to win one of these,” Lowry exclaimed. “It’s great to be in the position I was in and I hope I get myself in there quite a few times.”

He fired his caddie midway through the 2018 Open Championship. Why was that?
Frustrated by his poor form, Lowry fired his bag man, Dermot Byrne, mid-tournament at Carnoustie. “It’s something that I felt I had to do, but I should have waited until after it was over,” Lowry remarked. “I’ve never said it to him personally, but I’ve said it publicly: If I was to do it again, I would do it a little bit differently because Dermot is a very good friend of mine.”

How did Lowry begin playing golf?
He was a late bloomer in golf, starting to play when he was almost 13 years old. He took to the game quickly however and was a 12-handicap after a year of playing and a single-digit player soon after. “I started to play when my dad bought me a pitching wedge and a putter,” he told Golf Digest. “We would play pitch-and-putt on 60-yard holes at a course in my hometown, and I loved it. That’s where my love of the short game started and probably why I was able to take to it so quickly.”

He is often mistaken for another tour player. What’s the story about that?
By winning the Open Championship, Lowry should be well known by now. However, many people mistake him for Andrew (Beef) Johnston, who also has a similarly thick beard. "I don't think his beard is a good as mine," Lowry said of the more than occasional mix-up.

He comes from a family with a strong sports background. Who are the Lowry family members?
Lowry's ability in golf seems to originate from the sporting blood that runs through his family. His father, Brendan, and two uncles - Mick and Sean - were Gaelic football stars. Meanwhile, his brother Alan, who is an accountant by trade, is also a fine golfer, finishing sixth in this year’s East of Ireland event. Alan also caddied for Shane at several events in 2018.

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