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Tree-mendous — Sensational Shane Lowry

The Clara man destroys world class field at the Bridgestone Invitational

Shane Lowry was on top of the world in Akron last night and thanking his lucky stars for his WGC-Bridgestone Invitational win after a ricochet in the town they call Rubber City.

A dramatic final hole birdie, where his approach from the left rough at Firestone hit a tree near the green and finished up 11 feet away to set up a winning three, gave him the $1.57m pay day, a three year PGA Tour exemption and a jump of 29 spots to 19th in the world.

“It’s fairly special to go out and do that against such a good field,” he said. “A bogey free 66on a golf course like that, I know that will stand to me for the rest of my career and hopefully I’ve got a long career ahead of me.”

Lowry’s rub of the green – his ball filtered through the branches and leaves to finish 11 feet for the stick when he was under pressure to make par and stay ahead of clubhouse leader Bubba Watson – was nothing the 28-year old Clara man didn’t deserve.

“I made a great par on 17 and on 18 I am not going got lie, I was pretty nervous standing on the 18th tee,” Lowry said. “I have watched this tournament a lot in the past and you stand on that 18th tee and it’s very familiar. You stand there and think, this is what I am here for. This is why I came this week.

“I hit a poor enough tee shot to be honest. It was quite a long way left. One of the worst tee shots I’ve hit all week. But I was just going down there praying I could get it down there around the green. I got down and I had a pretty horrific lie. It was sitting down in a hole, almost like someone had stood on it. It was where the crowd was walking and I just said to Dermot I’d just try to hit sand wedge and get it down to the front of the green. 

“I pulled it. It came out a but too low and it went into the tree.” 

Then, grinning, he added: “And the rest is history.”

It is a huge win that brings to an end to nearly three years of near misses – 1,029 days or 2 years and nine months to be exact.

The bad luck and frustrating afternoons since he followed his 2009 Irish Open win as an amateur with his first as a pro in the Portugal Masters have simply piled up for Lowry and nowhere was his frustration more evident than in St Andrews just three weeks ago, where he took eight on the Road Hole in the first round and ended up missing the cut in an Open Championship he felt he might have challenged to win.

On his birdie at the last he admitted he got “a nice bounce”, adding: “I was just hoping to make par.”

It’s a great result too for all of Team Lowry, especially his management at Horizon Sports, his coach Neil Manchip, trainer Robbie Cannon and the rest of his back up squad.

That the win came just six days after his 22-year old brother Alan followed in his footsteps by winning the Mullingar Electrical Scratch Trophy last Monday just added to the feeling that this was destiny.

Lowry began the final round two shots off the pace set by overnight co-leaders Justin Rose and Jim Furyk, but he wiped out the deficit with birdies on the second and eighth holes.

 

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