Akron, Ohio: Irishman Shane Lowry was still in disbelief moments after winning the biggest title of his career at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday and sewing up his PGA Tour card for the next three years.
The 28-year-old from Clara in County Offaly had overcome the last-day challenge of three major winners in Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk and Justin Rose, firing a flawless four-under 66 to seal victory by two shots on the challenging Firestone layout.
“It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?” Lowry, a double winner on the European Tour, grinned as he spoke to reporters after earning a winner’s cheque for $1.57 million. “To be honest, it hasn’t sunk in yet.
“I mean, to beat those guys down the stretch on a golf course like this? This is probably one of the toughest golf courses, especially in this condition with how firm it was this week, that we play all year.” Lowry, the first Irish player to win one of the four elite World Golf Championships events, was thrilled to post a winning total of 11-under 269 at tree-lined Firestone Country Club.
“I said at the start of the week, I’d take eight under par, and I thought that might win,” the world number 48 said.
“So to shoot 11 under par on this golf course ... it just shows a lot about my game, that it’s good enough to compete at any level.
“Hopefully I’ve got a long career ahead of me. I’ve got a good exemption there in Europe, a good exemption here on the PGA Tour as well, so the future looks OK as of now.” Lowry, who became only the third amateur to win a European Tour title with victory at the 2009 Irish Open, was also happy to put behind him a run of three missed cuts in five previous PGA Tour starts.
“I can’t believe it,” he said. “I’ve been playing good most of the year, and things just haven’t been going my way. I’ve missed a couple of cuts by a shot.
“And I was getting very down on myself. But I played as good a golf as I’ve ever played the last four days. I managed to hole a few putts and get a bit of luck.”
(USA unless stated)
269 — Shane Lowry (IRL) 70-66-67-66
271 — Bubba Watson 70-66-69-66
273 — Jim Furyk 66-66-69-72, Justin Rose (ENG) 67-71-63-72
274 — Robert Streb 68-70-68-68
275 — Brooks Koepka 69-69-68-69, Danny Lee (NZL) 65-72-70-68, Henrik Stenson (SWE) 68-69-68-70, David Lingmerth (SWE) 70-71-66-68
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