The Open Wasn’t Exciting On Sunday, Which Is A Credit To Just How Great Shane Lowry Was
Getty Image / David Cannon
Heading into the final-round of The Open on Sunday I think a lot of people were expecting a bit of drama. Sure, Shane Lowry held a four-shot lead heading into the final 18 holes, but with a handful of players like Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and J.B. Holmes chasing down the man that had never won a major championship, the anticipation of drama was alive.
Add onto the fact that the Irishman was playing in front of thousands upon thousands of Irish and Northern Irish folks alike, the threat of a disaster loomed.
That drama nor anything close to a disaster never came as Shane Lowry masterfully posted a final-round score of 72 giving him a six-shot victory.
Things were never in doubt for Lowry to be fair. He bogeyed the first which gave off the illusion that perhaps there was a crack in his armor, but with birdies at the 4th, 5th and 7th holes everyone knew that crack did not exist.
Through 11 holes on Sunday Lowry found himself one-over par while Fleetwood, really the only player within striking distance all day, was two-over and five shots back. The drama wasn’t there, the excitement of a tight battle down the stretch was gone and the Claret Jug was Lowry’s, which is exactly the situation he was likely dreaming of the night before.
The 32-year-old was brilliant on Sunday, there really isn’t any other way to describe it. He eliminated one side of the golf course as he pulled out the anti-hook swing throughout the round and played a low-cut to perfection. It was like clockwork, and in a torrential downpour of rain and heavy winds for a good chunk of the middle of the round, it was beyond impressive.
You could tell Lowry grew up playing golf in those types of conditions on a links golf course, where you use the ground to your advantage; he made a constantly uncomfortable demanding style of play and conditions look entirely comfortable.
The final six pairings on Sunday shot a combined 51-over par. Only one player bested Lowry among that group of 11 players, Tony Finau, who shot an even-par 71. Let J.B. Holmes, who started the day in solo third, and his 87 paint the picture of the teeth Royal Portrush possessed for some on Sunday. Holmes dropped from third to T-67 in a span of 18 holes.
The Open never disappoints, period. Lowry, or hell, anyone else for that matter could have won by 12 shots and it still would be one of the most special four days in the sport. There is a beauty in every walk to the 18th green at every major, but most would argue The Open’s sits atop the list.
Lowry putting on that show while chasing his first major in front of tens of thousands or more Irish fans, and on that stage, was an exceptional performance.
When we look back at the major championships of 2019 it will always be dominated by Tiger Woods winning the Masters. Brooks Koepka defending the PGA Championship and finishing no worse than T-4 in a major in 2019 probably comes runner-up, but Lowry’s master-class performance can’t be overlooked by any means.