A nerveless Shane Lowry battled through horrendous wind and rain to power to his maiden major title, swiping The Open at Royal Portrush.
The 32-year-old exorcised the ghosts of near-misses past to prevail on home soil and send the Irish fans delirious.
Here, PA looks back on an emotional triumph for the home favourite and some 2019 Open highlights.
Shot of the tournament
The tournament was less than four hours old when Emiliano Grillo conjured a stunning hole in one at the par-three 13th. The Argentinian naturally celebrated in style.
The par-four 11th hole, named ‘PG Stevenson’s’, is a par five for the members but not in championship mode. While the par-three 16th “Calamity” had everyone worried before the tournament got into swing, it was the 11th that caught most people out, with just 41 birdies registered across the four rounds. There were also 141 bogeys and 21 double bogeys.
The par-five 12th proved the least challenging hole of the course, the competitors making hay on ‘Dhu Varren’, especially as it proved the only par-five on the back nine. Eight eagles and 188 birdies underscored just how much ground the players were able to scramble here.
See you again in 2024 Portrush?
After a hiatus of 68 years The Open returned to Northern Ireland and Royal Portrush, and the consensus was the tournament proved an overwhelming success. In fact the competition went so well that already there is talk of a rapid return, perhaps in even five years. With venues already sorted until 2022 and Muirfield in line for 2023, Northern Ireland could roll around again the year after that. The game’s top players would certainly welcome that move.
Stat of the day
Bob MacIntyre became the first Scot to secure a top-10 finish on his debut at The Open since Andrew Kirkaldy in 1879. The 22-year-old tied Tyrrell Hatton and Danny Willett for sixth, to secure an automatic place at next year’s Masters.
Quote of the tournament
“I sat in the car park at Carnoustie a year ago to this week, and I cried. Golf wasn’t my friend at the time. It was becoming very stressful, it was weighing on me and I didn’t like doing it. And what a difference a year makes I suppose.” Open Champion 2019 Shane Lowry admits he hit rock bottom with his golf after missing the cut in last year’s tournament in Scotland.
Tweet of the final round
When Padraig Harrington won The Open in 2007 his young son ran to his father to ask if they could put ladybirds in the Claret Jug. Proud Irishman Harrington beamed as compatriot and friend Lowry stormed to the 2019 title, then referenced back to his own breakthrough triumph in a touching social media moment.
Fleetwood gallant in defeat
A dejected Tommy Fleetwood had no need to try to hide the disappointment of finishing second. The Southport native simply could not match Lowry’s gritty golf in the horrendous Royal Portrush conditions on Sunday. While Fleetwood will take time to lick his wounds, he had nothing but praise for Lowry, and will have gained plenty of admirers for his mature and measured reaction to a tough scenario.
Molinari laments sluggish start to title defence
This time last year Francesco Molinari stormed to his maiden major title, hoisting the Claret Jug at Carnoustie. The Turin native carded a fine 66 in Sunday’s final round, but had paid the price for a poor first round of three over par. The 36-year-old was left to lament a lack of “passion” at the start of the tournament that ultimately stymied his title defence.