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Shane Lowry on Portrush | 'It...
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Shane Lowry on Portrush | 'It felt like I was floating'

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

16:24 25 Mar 2021

Shane Lowry has given a brilliant, in-depth account of his Open win at Portrush in 2019.

Speaking to The R&A's 'The Story of 2019' podcast, Lowry gave a blow-by-blow account of one of the most engaging and emotional chapters in Irish sport.

Shane Lowry

"I got off to a good start, but I could have been better as well," Lowry says of his start at Portrush.

"I was playing great golf and then suddenly I started to hole the putts and hit the shots. It was like I was floating around the golf course, to be honest.

"There are times when you get into those situations and you back away from them, like I probably did on Friday afternoon. But on Saturday afternoon I just kept going forward."

The last period of that Saturday retains special significance for Lowry.

"I'll never forget it, as long as I live. It was the most unbelievable hour, hour and twenty minutes of my golfing career. Birdie at 15; then hit a 4-iron into Calamity into 10 feet and hole that...

"People who have never been to Portrush, or weren't at The Open that week, when you walk over the hill at 17 and you just see the crowd of people down the 17th green and down 18 - it's just one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had."

'Incredible'

Lowry said he was in an 'incredible' mental state that week.

"I woke up that morning, I didn't eat breakfast, I had a little nibble for lunch. I wasn't able to. Bo kept saying 'You need to eat something' and I said that 'I can't, I'm physically sick.'

"All I could think about was standing on the 18th green with the Claret Jug in my hands and that is way ahead of myself, where I shouldn't be. I said to Bo: 'You need to keep talking to me, keep me in the moment, keep me focused on the next shot because I am away with the fairies here. I'm gone.'"

The first shot of the day with his 2-iron was a disaster.

"Genuinely, when I hit it I thought 'this is unbelievable, the crowd are going to go mental here,' and the next thing I was in the bunker and could not be in a worse place."

Positive

A positive putt left him just one down to Tommy Fleetwood for the hole, and turned it in Shane Lowry's favour - but he feels that the shot didn't matter.

"I really feel that it was going to take a lot to beat me that day. Even if that had gone against me on the first hole.

"I did walk to the second tee feeling like I had gained a shot, and I had lost a shot."

On the game went, and that northern Ulster weather came in.

"You kind of feel like it's getting a little bit away from you, but then you look at the leaderboard and realise that everybody is struggling."

The 14th

The 14th hole was the game-changer.

"I knew it was almost over on the 14th; Tommy made a pretty bad mistake. I made bogey as well, but I holed out on 15 so that was a pretty aggressive fist pump.

"This is where I felt like I had it, because I felt like I could make bogeys on the way in and win. Jean van de Velde would probably have been happy if I didn't win it from there because people would have stopped talking about him!"

The final hurdle for Shane Lowry

As it was, Shane Lowry could enjoy the incredible walk up the 17th towards the crowd.

"For me, walking down the 17 and 18 on Saturday was incredible. Then when you get to Sunday, it is just relief, joy, just happiness. But for me, at that stage, it was just relief. A lot of 'Oh my god, this is it - it's over.'

"Just disbelief. I remember looking up at the leaderboard and said 'I cannot believe that is me up there, I just cannot believe it.' It is one of the most surreal experiences I have ever had.  It was like an out-of-body experiences.

"To be able to share that with Bo... I swore that after my last caddy I would never become friendly with another caddy because I just thought it became too difficult at the end to finish [it.]

"Now, myself and Bo are great friends and we get on great. When I holed on the second, I turned around, hugged him and told him I loved him."

The final putt was a release of all the pent-up emotions of not just the weekend, but of a career and life in golf.

Lowry turned round to see the most special people in his life, standing at his side.

"It was the coolest thing about the whole thing - everybody standing at the back of that 18th green has had a huge influence on my whole career.

"I wouldn't have been there without any of those people."

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