Open winner Lowry lifts Claret Jug at Royal Portrush

Co Offaly's Shane Lowry celebrates winning the 148th Open at Royal Portrush. Credit: INPHO

Irishman Shane Lowry has lifted the coveted Claret Jug after claiming a six-shot victory in the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

The 32-year-old from Co Offaly led the pack going into Sunday’s final round of action, and even the inclement weather could not deter him from securing his first major championship.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood and America’s world number one Brooks Koepka were among those hot on Lowry’s heels, but they just could not close the gap on him.

The Open leaderboard at the end of the final day at Royal Portrush. Credit: INPHO

In the end, Lowry carded a closing 72 to sit on 15-under-par, six shots clear of Fleetwood.

In lifting the Open trophy, he follows in the footsteps of the likes of Fred Daly, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.

Shane Lowry and caddie Bo Martin celebrate victory at the 148th Open. Credit: INPHO

McIlroy and Clarke were particularly disappointed to miss the cut after two rounds on the Open’s first return to Northern Ireland since the first and only previous time it was stage there, in 1951.

This year’s event has set a new attendance record for a championship outside St Andrews, with 237,750 people attending – the second highest attendance ever to be recorded at an Open.

With Lowry having the title in his grasp as he bagged a birdie at the 15th to chants of “Ole, Ole, Ole”, his name was etched on the Claret Jug by the time he stepped onto the 18th tee.

A regulation par sealed victory and he hugged his caddie Brian ‘Bo’ Martin before being embraced by wife Wendy and two-year-old daughter Iris.

On Saturday evening, Lowry had been almost speechless at the position he found himself in and that turned to high emotion on Sunday.

Speaking after being presented with the Claret Jug on the 18th green, he said: “What can I say? I just have so many people to thank, first of all the R&A for such a great event.

“To have an Open here on the island of Ireland and at Royal Portrush is amazing. I love this place and to be able to come here and play an Open was great.

“A lot of people in my backroom team: my coach Neil (Manchip), my caddie Bo, my management team - I definitely wouldn't be standing here without them.”

Shane Lowry, with caddie Bo Martin, had to battle heavy rain at Royal Portrush. Credit: INPHO

Lowry fought back tears as he mentioned his parents, adding: “They sacrificed so much for me when I was younger and I’m so happy that I can hand them this trophy tonight.

“My wife and my little girl, to have them here today is just extra special.

“Last but not least - the volunteers and all the fans, thank you so much, this one’s for you.”

Open winner Shane Lowry is congratulated by runner-up Tommy Fleetwood. Credit: INPHO