Shane Lowry wins Open Championship, as Englishman Tommy Fleetwood rues missed chances

Lowry, the 32-year-old Irishman with stout nerves and a soft touch around the greens, endured the worst weather of the week and the Sunday pressure of a sellout crowd cheering him along to win the Open Championship. (AFP)
Updated 21 July 2019

Shane Lowry wins Open Championship, as Englishman Tommy Fleetwood rues missed chances

  • The silver claret jug is staying on the Emerald Isle
  • Tommy Fleetwood found it hard to take solace in his second-place finish at the Open

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland: Shane Lowry made the 68 years between Open Championships in Northern Ireland worth the wait.
The silver claret jug is staying on the Emerald Isle.
Lowry, the 32-year-old Irishman with stout nerves and a soft touch around the greens, endured the worst weather of the week and the Sunday pressure of a sellout crowd cheering him along to win the Open by six shots at Royal Portrush.
Even as the rain stopped, the tears began flowing.
“I can’t believe this is me standing here,” Lowry said as he cradled golf’s oldest trophy. “I can’t believe this is mine.”
It was never really in doubt.
Lowry closed with a 1-over 72, the first time since 1996 the Open champion was over par in the final round, and it was no less impressive. More difficult than the rain was wind strong enough to break an umbrella. Lowry began making bogeys in the middle of the round without losing ground. No one from the last 12 groups broke par.
And no one got closer than three shots all day of Lowry, who finished at 15-under 269.
Tommy Fleetwood found it hard to take solace in his second-place finish at the Open as he failed to reel in Shane Lowry at Royal Portrush on Sunday.
The Englishman finished six shots behind Lowry after shooting a three-over par round of 74 in horrendous weather conditions.
But he was left to rue a series of missed chances early on to put pressure on the Irishman.
“If I could pick one event it would be The Open. It’s my dream, and it always will be and you’re teeing off in the last group on Sunday with a very, very good chance,” said Fleetwood.
“It feels a lot rougher finishing when you feel like you’ve come so close to what you’ve dreamt as a kid.”
Fleetwood was still in the hunt at four shots back with six to play, but a double bogey at the 14th realistically ended his challenge.
“Them first few holes, when you start four back are pretty crucial. I didn’t do a good enough job of sort of pressing at that point,” he added.
“Struggled in the middle and four back with six to go and still in it, but 14 was a killer blow.”
American Tony Finau was the only player in the final 10 groups to not finish over par for the day as howling wind and heavy rain made low scoring nearly impossible.
But Fleetwood paid tribute to Lowry’s ability to handle the conditions and the tension to win his first major title with a 72 to finish 15-under par.
“When we got on to eight, nine, 10, just shocking, shocking weather. It was really, really difficult. I made a par on nine that felt like a birdie,” added Fleetwood.
“It was just tough. I think everybody would have got to a point and start going backwards.
“When the winds are like that on a links course, it plays hard, that’s just the way it is. You’ve got to do your bit.
“I think that makes Shane’s round of one-over even more impressive, controlling the day like he did.”

(With AFP and AP)


Spanish driver Carlos Sainz takes third Dakar Rally title after winning Saudi edition

Updated 7 min 48 sec ago

Spanish driver Carlos Sainz takes third Dakar Rally title after winning Saudi edition

  • Asked about defending his title next year Sainz said: “It’s too early to think about it, let me enjoy this”
  • He has now won the Dakar with three different manufacturers, having previously triumphed with Volkswagen in 2010 and Peugeot in 2018

QIDDIYA: Veteran Spanish driver Carlos Sainz won the Dakar Rally for the third time on Friday, finishing with a comfortable winning margin in the first running of the event in Saudi Arabia.
The 57-year-old crossed the line in the 12th and final stage 6min 21sec ahead of nearest challenger and reigning champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, who had managed to cut Sainz’s lead to just 24 seconds on Tuesday but fell back after navigation blunders.
“I feel very happy. There’s a lot of effort behind this. A lot of training, practice,” Sainz told the race’s website.
“It has been a flat out rally since the beginning. It was fantastic, a first time in Saudi Arabia, of course you can always improve but it was a fantastic effort,” he added.
Asked about defending his title next year Sainz said: “It’s too early to think about it, let me enjoy this.”
Sainz, the father of F1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr., seized control of the race from the third stage in his X-raid Mini.
He has now won the Dakar with three different manufacturers, having previously triumphed with Volkswagen in 2010 and Peugeot in 2018.
Stephane Peterhansel was third at 9min 58sec behind in his Mini. Both the Frenchman and Sainz won four stages in the marathon 12-day, 7,800-kilometer (4,800-mile) race.
Ricky Brabec triumphed in the motorbike section for Honda, becoming the first US rider to win the gruelling race.
Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso finished 13th on his Dakar debut, nearly five hours behind the winner.
Alonso came second in one stage but his first participation in the Dakar was a bruising affair as the 38-year-old Spaniard suffered a double rollover in the 10th stage after hitting a dune at an awkward angle.