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What does last night's win at the World Golf Championship mean for Shane Lowry?

A cheque for €1.5 million, up to 19th in the world and a place on the PGA Tour for the next three years. Put simply, it was a dream week for the Offaly man.

It was his first win in two years and 299 days.
It was his first win in two years and 299 days.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

IF BALTRAY WAS his breakthrough win, Bridgestone most certainly will be the making of Shane Lowry.

The 28-year-old showed nerves of steel, sheer audacity and, at times, rode his luck to claim his third career win last night at the World Golf Championships – Bridgestone Invitational.

The Clara native sealed a two-stroke victory at the Firestone Country Club with a flawless final round 66 as he fended off the challenge of Major winners from all angles.

Lowry, normally so calm and collected, could barely muster the words afterwards to describe what he’d just done.

It will probably take a while for the magnitude of this achievement to sink in because not only does Lowry walk away from Ohio with a winner’s cheque for €1,412,759 but this was a week when his reputation and stature spiralled.

Surrounded by some of the game’s biggest names, Lowry produced shot after shot to foil the charge of home favourite Bubba Watson with inspired approaches at 10 and then 18 as well as sinking clutch putts on 14 and 17.

When he needed it most, Lowry came up with the goods. Put simply, he is the real deal.

As has been said so many times in the last 12 hours, this was a ‘life-changing’ win for the Irishman.

Bridgestone Invitational Golf Lowry held his nerve on the final day to seal the biggest win of his career. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Beyond the four Majors, the World Golf Championship events (Cadillac Championship, HSBC Champions, Match Play Championship and Bridgestone Invitational) are oft considered the unofficial ‘fifth majors’ such is the prestige of winning one of them.

The Bridgestone role of honour tells you everything you need to know about a tournament steeped in history; McIlroy, Woods, Scott, Singh, Mickelson, Olazábal, Watson, Nicklaus – the list is endless.

“It is hard to believe but I played good,” he told Sky Sports afterwards. “I was quite nervous towards the end (of the round) and made a lot of good decisions and got a bit of luck as well. It is great to be able to pull something off.”

In the Sky studio to the side of the 18th green, Paul McGinley could barely contain himself and then there were the celebrations back in Esker Hills Golf Club where Lowry first learned the game.

His brother, Alan, who had himself won the Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy just days previous, fiancée Wendy, parents and granny led the celebrations, no doubt well into the night.

They had much to celebrate.

After his sparkling performance at the US Open in June, Lowry was granted special temporary membership for the remainder of the PGA Tour season. Now, he has a three-year exemption and the opportunity to play on either side of the Atlantic.

Alan Lowry (Shane Brother) celebrates Esker Hills owner Ray Molloy Alan Lowry (Shane's brother) celebrates with Esker Hills owner Ray Molloy. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

It would be stretching it to say it was a bold move for Lowry to ply his trade in America where the competition is far greater but it’s a gamble, if that’s the right word, that has paid off.

For the first time in his burgeoning career, Lowry has moved inside the world’s top 20 and now sits in 19th place on the rankings, up from 48th.

Victory in Ohio also earns Lowry a place on the Fed-Ex Cup rankings but as per PGA Tour guidelines, he won’t pick-up the 550 points he would have collected last night because he was a non-temporary member.

rankings

Nonetheless, he is now on the lucrative Fed-Ex ladder and strong showings at next week’s USPGA Championship and the Wyndham Championship would boost his chances of qualifying for the playoffs, where the overall winner scoops a cool $10 million.

In order to book a place at the Barclays, Lowry would need to finish inside the top 125 on the Fed-Ex standings. He currently lies in 165th with 222 points.

But it isn’t in Lowry’s make-up to become entangled in chasing points and ranking places.

“I’ve achieved a lot of goals so far this year,” he said. “PGA Tour card, another win, well inside the top 50 in the world. So yeah, I’m just looking forward to the next few months.”

And there will be little time for reflection.

Attention will now turn to the fourth and final Major of the year at Whistling Straits and Lowry will go into this week infused with the confidence and belief that winning on the biggest stage invariably brings.

Yet whatever happens over the next few weeks, he has already written his name into the history books.  This is undoubtedly a golden era for Irish golf and Shane Lowry is leading the charge.

  • It was Lowry’s first victory since the 2012 Portugal Masters, a gap of two years and 299 days.
  • It’s the first time there has been back-to-back Irish triumphs in WGC history after Rory McIlroy won last year.
  • Lowry became the third different Irishman to win a WGC event, following Darren Clarke and McIlroy.
  • Moves over €7 million in European Tour career earnings.
  • The first player from the Republic of Ireland to win on The European Tour since, Simon Thornton at the 2013 Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open.

Stats via The European Tour.

‘I can’t believe I am standing here as champion’ – Shane Lowry basks in WGC glory

Irish sports stars salute Shane Lowry after brilliant win at Firestone

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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