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Superlative Shane captures maiden Major with historic British Open victory

Joy Chakravarty



Lowry becomes sixth Irish player to win a Major after his six stroke win at Royal Portrush

Portrush: Irrespective of the imaginary line dividing the island, the whole of Ireland came to a standstill as Shane Lowry signed off his remarkable run at Royal Portrush by lifting the Claret Jug.

On Sunday, the 32-year-old from the Republic of Ireland withstood intense pressure and battled inclement weather in front of doting fans to become the sixth Irish player to win a Major title when he triumphed at the 148th Open Championship by six shots. The oldest trophy in the sport came to the Emerald Isle after a long gap of 68 years, but it will now stay here for at least one year.

Four ahead at the start of the day, Lowry shot a one-over par 72 in tough playing conditions as incessant rain and wind wreaked havoc, to finish at 15-under par 269. His playing partner, England’s Tommy Fleetwood, recorded his second runner-up finish after a 74.

The only time Lowry’s lead was brought down below four shots was when he opened the round with a bogey. But Fleetwood just could not turn the screws as he missed birdie putts on the first two holes, and then a par putt from five feet to help restore Lowry’s lead to four.

Lowry then made three birdies in four holes from the fourth onwards and despite a bogey on the ninth and 11th, he still managed to stay ahead by five shots.

Newly crowned British Open champion—Shane Lowry of Republic of Ireland—lifts the prestigious Claret Jug.

A double bogey on the 14th hole by Fleetwood gave Lowry enough breathing space to negotiate the tough closing stretch of Portrush.

After the win, which fetched him lifetime return to The Open until the age of 60, various exemptions and a tidy cheque of $1.935 million (approx. Rs. 13.35 crore), Lowry said: “I can’t believe this is me standing here. I can’t believe this (the Claret Jug) is mine.”

Lowry, who said he did not think he’d win the title until he hit the tee shot on the 18th hole and felt he could not lose the golf ball from there, would have been the only man at a jam-packed Portrush who was having trouble believing it. Hundreds of his friends and families made the trip on Saturday night from the small town of Clara in Offal County to join the thousands already at the iconic course to watch history being made.

An expected weather front dumped plenty of rain and gusting wind on the golf course around the time the leaders teed off. Conditions were brutal. Just to illustrate, the first 10 groups to play in the morning scored a collective even-par, while the last 10 groups struggled to 92-over par! American JB Holmes, 10-under par for his first three rounds and in third place, slumped to a 16-over par 87.

Despite having a handy lead, Lowry said he needed a good par on the 13th, followed by the double bogey by Fleetwood, to feel comfortable on the course.

“Obviously, I had a nice healthy lead going out and I hit a ropy tee shot on the first. Then you’re standing on the first green, Tommy has a great chance of birdie and I’m putting for bogey from eight feet. There’s a potential three-shot swing. He misses, I make, and there’s only one shot. That settled me an awful lot,” said Lowry, who is expected to move to No. 17 in the Official World Golf Rankings on Monday.

“It was so hard out there. When that big shower came in on the eighth hole, the tee shot on ninth was just like put the ball down and hope for the best because it was incredible the way the rain that was coming down.

“I started to feel comfortable after 14. I had a lovely par on 13. Tommy had missed the green and I hit a bad tee shot there… a silly bad tee shot. It was an easy nine iron downwind, should be hitting the green with that, but to make the par from the bunker was huge.

“To be honest, I played the last five holes incredibly well. And I felt incredibly good. I felt like I was going to do it, especially after 14 when Tommy made double and I went bogey.”

Fleetwood was disappointed with his second place but paid glowing tribute to Lowry’s game.

“I’m disappointed and a bit low. Those first few holes, when you start four back, are pretty crucial. I didn’t do a good enough job of pressing at that point,” admitted Fleetwood.

“I’m happy for Shane, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not great now. He literally controlled the tournament from the start of today until the end. That’s a very, very impressive thing to do.”

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Bogey-free 67 lifts Shubhankar to tied 9th at BMW PGA Championship



Shubhankar Sharma golf
Shubhanka Sharma.

Wentworth (United Kingdom): Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma fired a bogey-free five-under 67 in the second round to be placed tied ninth with a total of six-under at the BMW PGA Championship.

Shubhankar wore a big smile as he walked off the Wentworth Golf Club.

Still smarting under the triple bogey he suffered on the first day and ended with 71, Shubhankar is now six-under and was happy with his play as he was bogey free.

Shubhankar was in the top-10 at tied ninth though there were many players yet to finish.

The other Indian in action, SSP Chawrasia (72-78) however missed the cut.

Jon Rahm (66-67) and Danny Willett (68-65) were the co-leaders at 11-under, while Christiaan Bezuidenhout (68-67) and Justin Rose (67-68) were nine-under and were tied third.

Speaking of his game, Shubhankar said: “Pretty happy with no bogey and I started well with a good 7-Iron to five feet. Then followed a few good pars and four more birdies.

“The key was good putting, actually pretty much everything fell in the slot today. I was finding more fairways, iron play was better and overall I hit much better today than the first day.”

He picked the first and 14th as the two best birdies.

He also admitted conditions were easier in the morning as towards the end of his round, wind started to pick up.

“Six-under for two rounds after a triple on first day felt good and lunch will taste better,” said Shubhankar, who at the Pro-Am was presented with his ‘Rookie of the Year’ for 2018 Trophy by Keith Pelley, the Chief Executive of European Tour.

Following his opening 66 on Thursday, Henrik Stenson praised the greenkeepers, complimenting them on “a great job with the course”.

This year’s date change, with the event switching from May to September, has led to compliments from many, but the West Course has been receiving praise since it underwent a significant renovation in 2016.

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Shubhankar Sharma tied 42nd, Chawrasia tied 69th at BMW PGA Championship



Shubhankar Sharma

Wentworth (United Kingdom): Shubhankar Sharma was tied 42nd on account of a triple bogey with a score of one-under 71 while SSP Chawrasia shot an even par to be tied 69th after opening round of the BMW PGA Championship.

The talented Sharma survived a big blip on the back nine, when he triple bogeyed on the fourth hole which was Par-5.

Sharma was cruising with birdies on 12th, 13th and 18th holes respectively. He added a fourth birdie on second when disaster struck on Par-5 fourth. He also bogeyed the next hole to be suddenly even par. However he fought back with a birdie on Par-4 sixth and ended the day at 71.

“I am proud of the way I hung despite dropping the triple,” said Sharma, who did well for three days last week at the KLM Open before dropping to 40th on the final day.

Please read: Indian golfers Shubhankar, Chawrasia gear up for PGA Championship

Chawrasia had three each of birdies and bogeys.

Matt Wallace delighted the home crowds in the opening round as the 29-year-old carded a flawless seven under 65 to move into a one-shot lead.

On a sunny and hot day, Wallace, who won three of his four European Tour titles in 2018 was the star of the show.

He opened with a birdie three at the first before a stunning eagle-birdie-birdie run from the fourth hole saw him reach the turn in five under par.

The Londoner cruised home with a couple more birdies to move to the top, ahead of Spain’s Jon Rahm and Swede Henrik Stenson on six under par. Their 2018 Ryder Cup-winning team-mate Justin Rose was a shot behind after a five-under 67.

Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Paul Casey and Danny Willett were among the seven players at four-under 68.

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Indian golfers Shubhankar, Chawrasia gear up for PGA Championship



Shubhankar Sharma

Surrey: Top Indian golfers Shubhankar Sharma and SSP Chawrasia will face off against the best in business as they begin their campaign at the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Golf Club here on Thursday.

One of the best fields of the year will be on display at the BMW PGA Championship, which will be the first counting tournament in the race to qualify for the 2020 European Ryder Cup Team.

Shubhankar, who featured amongst the top 20 for the most part before faltering on the last day for a T-40 finish at the KLM Open, will be India’s best bet.

Bhullar, who also featured along with Sharma in the tournament, will look to end in a better position after finishing at T-60 at the KLM’s sports news

Chawrasia, on the other hand, has been struggling with his form and he will need to bring his ‘A’ game to the floor after a T-75 and T-87 finish at the KLM Open and Porsche European Open respectively in the past two weeks.

The tournament will be headlined by FedEx Cup Champion Rory McILroy.

The other major names will include Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry, defending champion Francesco Molinari, Tony Finau, Billy Horschel, Andrew Putman and Patrick Reed.

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