Shane Lowry produces valiant defense of the Claret Jug, but his Covid-influenced reign is finally over
Shane Lowry produces a valiant defense of the Claret Jug, but after holding the title for two years, his Covid-influenced reign as Open champion is finally over
- Shane Lowry was reigning Open champion for two years due to covid champion
- The Irishman finished in a tie for 12th place in Royal St George’s on Sunday
- American Collin Morikawa claimed the trophy and finished 15 under par
With a rousing ovation and an anti-climactic run of pars, the longest undisputed reign of an Open champion since the war came to an end.
Shane Lowry sucked it all up when he came down the eighteenth, just as he had done in Portrush two years ago, under very different circumstances.
This time there was sunshine instead of Northern Ireland’s lashing winds and rain, and the welcome was more generous than ecstatic. He came in with a very respectable six under and just outside the top ten.
Shane Lowry produced a valiant defense of the Claret Jug at Royal St George’s
After hitting the turn in 33, the chance of an unlikely replay remained. The ultimately failed challenge could not dampen his attitude as he prepared to return the Claret Jug after an impossibly long period of possession.
“I really enjoyed the whole week, it was a great experience,” said the Irishman. “Walking through the last hole today was one of the coolest things you’ll ever do, and I have to do it.
“I think I was a little tense the first day, but you get that a bit during the week of big tournaments. I don’t think it was much different from normal Majors.”
If the two years since Lowry’s win at Portrush have been difficult, it’s nothing compared to what followed for the man who ended up holding the title for the longest time.
Lowry came in with a very respectable six under and just outside the top ten
After Lancastrian Dick Burton won at St Andrew’s in 1939, it took a few months before he enlisted in the RAF. Before returning for the next edition in 1946, when he finished twelfth, he sent the Royal and Ancient a letter with a five guineas entrance fee and a promise that he would take the pitcher with him.
Next on Lowry’s agenda is the Tokyo Olympics, although not everyone’s idea of a perfect assignment at the moment, where he will represent Ireland with Rory McIlroy.
“It’s something I never thought I would do, but now I get to do it,” said the 2019 champion. “I’m going with one goal and one ambition, and that’s to get a medal back. bring to Ireland. That’s the only reason I’m going, I’m not going there on my vacation.”
Then it’s a campaign to qualify for the Ryder Cup team on merit. Moving forward, the thought is to return to Portrush, which now appears to be hosting in 2025.
The Rirshman shakes hands with Paul Casey after their final round
Lowry had too much to do after an opening lap of 71, although he threatened to make a late run after three birdies in four holes en route to the turn left him in fifth position yesterday.
His hopes were sunk on the tenth, when he drove into the rough and then pulled the ball into the bunker, where it landed right into the wall. There was nothing for it but to push him back a few meters to try to escape with a bogey, which he did.
After that it was pars all the way to a tie for twelfth place – exactly the same as Burton 75 years ago.