Dream Irish Open win for Lowry

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A new star was born on Sunday when local hero Shane Lowry became just the third amateur to win on the European Tour.

A new star was born today when local hero Shane Lowry became just the third amateur to win on the European Tour – this at The 3 Irish Open – and on the third extra hole of a sudden-death play-off, no less!
But what agonies the 22-year-old had to go through at County Louth before he got the better of England’s Robert Rock in their sudden death play-off.
Son of a famous Gaelic footballer, Lowry was poised for glory when he pitched to within four feet of the final flag.
But, having raised his cap to the ecstatic crowd as he walked onto the green, he was covering his face in it when he pulled the putt wide.
“I didn’t think I would have a better chance than that,” he said afterwards. But he did and in pouring rain he took it to change his life forever.
Rock missed a nine-footer at the first play-off hole and after the next was shared in birdies, Lowry’s tap-in putt for a par five the third time round – their fourth playing of the day of the long 18th – gave him the trophy after Rock had pitched over the green and fasiled to get up and down for par.
Lowry, who could not accept the first prize of nearly £440,000, is set to decide tomorrow whether to turn professional.
The likelihood is that he will and be at Wentworth for this week’s BMW PGA Championship.
But what state he will be in to play remains to be seen.
“I can’t believe it – this is going to take a long time to sink in,” said the current Walker Cup squad member, who was playing his first-ever first European Tour event and on Friday shot a 62 which equalled the lowest round ever by an amateur on the circuit.
That put him in front and with a round to go he shared top spot with Rock. But when he fell two behind on the 11th, it looked as if he might slip quietly away.
Not so. Rock bogeyed the next and then Lowry, with fist pumps each time, birdied the 14th and 16th to go ahead.
However, the dramatic finale was set up when Rock, seeking his first win after two runners-up finishes this season, rolled in a 20-footer for birdie at the short 17th to draw level.
With Lowry’s horror miss on the last, they tied with a 17-under par total of 271, but it was to prove the amateur’s dream day day after all.
“I know my life is about to change forever,” he said and when asked if he would be considering turning pro he replied: “I’d be mad not to.
“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 and after that I thought ‘this is my week – I can win’. And I did!”
Rock’s compensation was that, because of Lowry’s amateur status, he still took the first prize and with it moves into the Tour’s top 10 this season.
But he was pushed into the shadows by the plus-five handicapper, whose march to victory was watched by Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen. He also comes from County Offaly.
Third was Swede Johan Edfors, who shared the lead with Rock with six to play, but fell out of the hunt with bogeys at the 13th and 17th.
Joint fourth were England’s Nick Dougherty and Scot Marc Warren. For both of them it was their best performance since last August.
For Warren’s World Cup-winning partner Colin Montgomerie, however, it was a nightmare day.
They were playing together – Gary Orr made it an all-Scottish group – but Montgomerie crashed to an 80, the second time in three weeks he has failed to break that mark.
As a result Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, tied for seventh overnight, dropped all the way to 41st and is still searching for his first top 10 finish since he was runner-up in the French Open last June.
ALL THE FINAL ROUND RESULTS
Collated final round scores from the European Tour’s 3 Irish Open at County Louth GC in Baltray, Ireland (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):
271 Shane Lowry 67 62 71 71 (Shane Lowry won at the third play-off hole), Robert Rock 66 65 69 71
273 Johan Edfors (Swe) 64 70 68 71
275 Marc Warren 67 69 71 68, Nick Dougherty 66 67 73 69
276 Alastair Forsyth 67 68 71 70
278 Roope Kakko (Fin) 66 67 76 69
279 Brett Rumford (Aus) 73 66 72 68, Thomas Levet (Fra) 67 66 73 73
280 Richard Bland 71 68 71 70, Anthony Wall 72 68 71 69, Chris Wood 69 67 76 68
281 Jamie Donaldson 66 65 78 72
282 Oliver Wilson 66 68 76 72, David Horsey 70 67 78 67, Rafael Echenique (Arg) 69 67 75 71, Darren Clarke 71 68 73 70, Pablo Martin (Spa) 70 65 77 70, Andrew McLardy (Rsa) 69 66 77 70
283 Michael Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 69 69 73 72, Anders Hansen (Den) 68 68 76 71, Rafael Cabrera Bello (Spa) 67 69 79 68, Graeme Storm 70 69 76 68, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 69 70 72 72
284 Gary Murphy 70 69 75 70, Lee Slattery 67 69 75 73, Stephen Dodd 70 67 74 73, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 71 67 73 73, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 68 69 78 69
285 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 67 67 78 73, Gary Orr 68 67 74 76, Paul Lawrie 66 66 77 76, Mads Vibe-Hastrup (Den) 72 68 76 69, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 68 70 76 71, Lee Westwood 68 66 77 74
286 David Drysdale 69 68 80 69, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 72 67 72 75, Shiv Kapur (Ind) 66 71 76 73, Simon Khan 72 68 74 72, Paul Broadhurst 71 69 73 73
287 David Carter 71 69 73 74, Martin Erlandsson (Swe) 68 72 73 74, Colin Montgomerie 70 65 72 80, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 69 70 77 71, Simon Dyson 71 68 80 68, Peter Hedblom (Swe) 68 72 77 70, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 71 66 75 75, Niclas Fasth (Swe) 71 68 78 70, Marcus Fraser (Aus) 69 71 76 71
288 Robert Jan Derksen (Ned) 69 69 73 77, Jose-Maria Olazabal (Spa) 71 67 75 75, Rory McIlroy 69 68 76 75, Patrik Sjoland (Swe) 73 67 73 75, Ross Fisher 70 67 77 74, Jarmo Sandelin (Swe) 70 70 74 74, Sam Little 72 66 78 72
289 Damien McGrane 69 71 75 74, Alexander Noren (Swe) 70 70 79 70, Soren Hansen (Den) 71 68 79 71, Marcel Siem (Ger) 69 68 78 74
290 Paul Waring 72 67 80 71, Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (Ind) 74 66 79 71, Gregory Havret (Fra) 70 66 79 75, Jose Manuel Lara (Spa) 67 68 77 78
291 Steve Webster 70 68 77 76, Julien Clement (Swi) 67 70 75 79
292 Emanuele Canonica (Ita) 69 70 77 76, Paul McGinley 71 68 77 76
293 Gary Lockerbie 69 70 77 77
294 Wil Besseling (Ned) 69 66 79 80
296 Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 72 67 78 79
299 Michael Jonzon (Swe) 71 69 78 81

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