Lowry makes golf history by winning on Tour debut

Ireland rejoices as Lowry makes golf history by winning on Tour debut

Even for the Irish these were wild celebrations. The gallery swarmed on to the 18th green like a boxing crowd invading the ring and lifted aloft their national hero while spraying him in bubbly. The scenes at Co Louth Golf Club last night suggested this was no ordinary European victory and indeed it wasn't. Shane Lowry had become the first amateur to win on his very first Tour outing. And that is as incredible an achievement as it sounds.

Perhaps the scale of his feat in taking the 3 Irish Open was best summed up by the identity of one of the open-mouthed who sprinted across the putting surface to engulf the new champion. For the last year or so, Rory McIlroy has been dropping jaws everywhere with his ripping up of all that had previously been deemed possible for a young Irishman. Yet here he was hailing the miracle of a friend and former rival.

Lowry, 22, used to play on the same amateur teams as McIlroy and became used to making his own way in McIlroy's shadow. No longer, not after his dramatic victory over Robert Rock on the third play-off hole. The chubby lad from Co Offaly has his own remarkable entry in the records book now. He is expected to turn pro today and take his place in the prestigious BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, an undreamt-of scenario five days ago. "I know my life is about to change for ever," said Lowry, who had planned to play in this year's Walker Cup. "I'd be mad not to turn pro."

Lowry is just the third amateur to prevail on Tour – following Spain's Pablo Martin in Portugal two years ago and New Zealand's Danny Lee in Australia earlier this year – but both of his pro-belittling predecessors had enjoyed previous run-outs. "Right now, I'm feeling shock more than anything. I got an invite here, it's my first tournament and I would have been happy to make the cut. But then I shot the 62 on Friday and after that I thought, 'This is my week – I can win.' And I did"

This was a spectacular finish to a grand old tournament which so almost lost to the credit crunch. The new sponsors could not have believed their investment would pay off this quickly. The locals knew they were witnessing one of golf's most unlikely debuts and were not about play it down. Especially as this one of their own rewriting history.

Poor Rock was instantly forgotten in the ensuing tumult, although there was plenty of consolation on hand of the English professional. This was the closest Rock had come to an overdue title, but at least he received the winner's cheque. Thanks to Lowry's non-paid status, the Midlander collected the near £500,000 first prize.

In truth, it would have been too cruel on Lowry if Rock had walked away with the silverware as well. Lowry had led from the second round onwards and somehow managed to overcome the high winds and the inevitable nerves that jangled around his inexperienced frame. Yesterday the lad who drove to the course each day in a beat-up Mitsubishi Colt greeted each wayward shot with a loud curse, and it seemed certain that he would be caught by the pack. But he dug deep. And when he was left with a birdie putt of less than four feet on the last hole of regulation it appeared his spirit was just about to be rewarded. However, it agonisingly dribbled wide and at 17-under he had tied with Rock. "I didn't think I would have a better chance than that," Lowry said.

Twenty minutes later, Rock had a nine-footer on the first sudden-death hole, but it also slipped by. Then, after they had both birdied the next, Rock ran up a bogey six and Lowry holed from 12 inches. "This is going to take a long time to sink in," he said.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'