Irish joy at Royal Portrush as Lowry wins Open

Shane Lowry has won his first Major in front of a delirious Irish crowd at Royal Portrush.

The 32-year-old was never headed in the final round at the Antrim links course, eventually winning by six shots to claim the $2.76 million first prize.

He has become only the fifth Irish winner of the Open after Fred Daly, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.

The win caps a fantastic year for the Offaly-man who was ranked 90 in the world 12 months ago.

After changing caddie, Lowry won in Abu Dhabi in January and finished joint eighth at the US PGA in May. His ranking rose to 33 before his Portrush heroics.

At the 2016 US Open in Oakmont he led by four heading into the final round only to produce a trio of three-putts on the back nine to hand victory to Dustin Johnson.

But there was no such collapse at the first British Open to be held in Ireland in 68 years.

Lowry celebrated his win with wife Wendy, daughter Iris and dad Brendan, a one-time Gaelic football champion, and mum Bridget.

Two years ago, he said becoming a father had been a game changer.

“I don’t know what it is. Maybe when you have a child, it makes a difference,” Shane said in 2017. “It is probably no coincidence that since Iris was born, my golf has been quite good. It puts life into perspective.”

Shane Lowry celebrates his British Open success.

Shane Lowry celebrates his British Open success.

Previous Irish Major Winners

2010 US OPEN - Graeme McDowell

With Dustin Johnson three clear at Pebble Beach after 54 holes it did not look good for McDowell. But Johnson had an early triple and double bogey, crashed to an 82 and world number 37 McDowell held his nerve. "Careers are defined by major championships and my career's off and running today," he said.

2011 US OPEN - Rory McIlroy

Two months after a closing 80 when four ahead at the Masters, McIlroy started at Congressional with a 65. From three in front he went six clear with a 66, then eight ahead with a 68, setting 36-hole and 54-hole records. "At Augusta it was all a bit new to me. I have a clear mind now," the 22-year-old said after completing an eight-shot win.

2011 OPEN - Darren Clarke

English amateur Tom Lewis and 2003 Sandwich runner-up Thomas Bjorn led after opening with 65s, but at halfway it was Clarke and American Lucas Glover out in front. A Saturday 69, one of only three sub-70 scores in the wind and rain, left Clarke one ahead and at the 20th attempt he became Open champion. "The Open is the biggest and best tournament in the world. Nineteen times I've failed, now I've won - it's a dream come true," he said.

2012 US PGA - Rory McIlroy

Sweden's Carl Pettersson was the surprise leader after an opening 66 and shared the halfway lead with Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, but McIlroy surged clear with his second 67 of the week in the weather-delayed third round. A closing 66 gave the 23-year-old a second major title and a second eight-shot winning margin. "I'm speechless," McIlroy said. "It has been an incredible week. I had a good feeling about it at the start but I never imagined it would turn out like this."

2014 OPEN - Rory McIlroy

McIlroy led from start to finish at Hoylake, opening with back-to-back rounds of 66 to open up a four-shot lead at halfway. In anticipation of bad weather on Saturday, a two-tee start was used for the first time in championship history and McIlroy - who was six shots clear - was giving his post-round press conference when torrential rain began falling. A closing 71 gave McIlroy a two-shot win and third major title. "It feels incredible," McIlroy said. "To win three legs of the Grand Slam at 25 is a pretty big achievement."

2014 US PGA - Rory McIlroy

Rounds of 66 and 67 at Valhalla gave McIlroy a one-shot lead at halfway and a third-round 67 maintained his slender advantage over Austria's Bernd Wiesberger. Torrential rain in the final round forced a lengthy delay and meant a dramatic finale in near-darkness as Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler stood aside on the 18th to allow McIlroy to tee off and make the par required to win by a shot. "I didn't think in my wildest dreams I would have a summer like this," McIlroy said.

Shane Lowry during the rain-soaked final round at Royal Portrush.

Shane Lowry during the rain-soaked final round at Royal Portrush.