Shane Lowry gave a sold out Royal Portrush a weekend to remember as the Irishman won his first Major Championship.
Spectators cheered on Lowry's every action as he finished six shots clear of the field at the 148th Open Championship and the first on the island of Ireland since 1951.
It rounded off a memorable week as the last Major Championship of the year provided plenty of thrills and highlights. Here is your recap of the best of the action.
Record-breaking Lowry makes Major breakthrough
Just three years ago, Lowry took a four shot lead into the final round of the U.S Open and finished three shots behind winner Dustin Johnson. This time, there would be no let up as his four shot lead on Saturday night became a winning margin of six shots and a maiden Major Championship success. Lowry put himself in position with a spellbinding third round display, breaking the new course record amid a fervent atmosphere in Northern Ireland. On Sunday, he bogeyed the first hole to give closest challenger Tommy Fleetwood a sniff, but as the weather conditions worsened, Lowry stood firm and had the luxury of celebrating on his way to the 18th green. He said: ""I hit my tee shot on 18, that was it, and I started to enjoy it then. It was just incredible to walk down 18. The crowd was going wild. I tried to soak it in as much as I could. I didn't even know going out this morning if I was good enough to win a Major. And look, I'm here now, a Major Champion. I can't believe I'm saying it."
Happy birthday, Dad!
Brendan Lowry had double reason to celebrate at Royal Portrush. The celebrated Gaelic footballer turned 60 days before his son clinched the Claret Jug at Royal Portrush. “It was my birthday last Friday, I was 60 last Friday, that’s why he handed me the thing and said ‘Happy birthday, Dad’," Lowry Senior said. “That’s what he dreamed about, like any young sportsman when they take it up they dream of things like that. What about winning the Open in Ireland – you can’t dream it, and in Portrush, which he likes too.”
McIlroy magic sets Portrush alight
The crowd certainly made themselves heard on Sunday as the Claret Jug was decided, but you would be forgiven for mistaking Friday as the final round of the Championship. Rory McIlroy had an opening round to forget and needed to make up seven shots on day two to secure his weekend spot. It seemed a long shot, but the 2014 Open Champion produced the best second round Major score of his career and his 65 left him, agonisingly, one shot away from making the cut. But it was certainly a memorable round for everybody watching, as well as the man himself. McIlroy said: "I'm unbelievably proud of how I handled myself coming back after what was a very challenging day yesterday, and just full of gratitude towards every single one of the people that followed me to the very end and was willing me on. I felt like I gave a good account of myself today and I can leave here with my head held high. I will look back on this day with nothing but fond memories and positivity."
Clarke kickstarts Championship
The alarms went off especially early on Thursday morning as an adoring home crowd assembled to see Northern Irishman Darren Clarke hit the opening tee shot at 6.35am. The early risers were immediately rewarded as the 2011 Open Champion holed his 15 foot birdie putt at the first to take the lead and he remained top of the fledgling leaderboard after adding further birdies at the third and fifth before signing for an opening 71. “I didn’t think I would feel the way I did, but the support, the crowd, everything about it, I just thought ‘wow, it’s The Open Championship’,” the tearful 50-year-old said. “We’re back here in Portrush, and it was amazing.
Fantastic Fox makes history
The Open Championship has played host to most things since it was first staged in 1860 but in the 159 years since, nobody had ever fired a 29 on the back nine until Thursday. When Fox turned in 39, the chances of him being the first man to do it looked pretty remote but he made four birdies in a row from the 12th and had a birdie-birdie finish to join the golfing immortals.
Mr. Consistency Koepka does it again
Brooks Koepka became just the fifth man to finish in the top five of every Major in one year. That the American tied for fourth at Royal Portrush and it was his worst placing in golf's biggest four events in 2019 speaks volumes. Tiger Woods had three wins and a tie for fourth in 2000 and two wins and two top fours in 2005, Jack Nicklaus went T2-2-T5-1 in 1971 and T3-T4-4-1 two years later, Rickie Fowler's placings went T5-T2-T2-T3 in 2014 while Jordan Spieth finished 1-1-T4-2 in 2015.
4th for Brooks - worse finish in a major this year - disgraceful @BKoepka 🤣🤣 (no need to reply)— Luke Donald (@LukeDonald) July 21, 2019
Marker McNeill's monster at the 17th
The third round of the 148th Open Championship will live long in the memory of Royal Portrush head professional Gary McNeill. He was given the honour of accompanying first man out Paul Waring on Saturday morning and the marker showed a global audience what he was capable of. This monster putt at the 17th might be talked about for some time in the McNeill household...