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Thursday 8 December 2016

Tears, cheers and beers for Shane Lowry as locals celebrate 'fairytale' win

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen with Ray Molloy Marketing Manager and Co Owner of Esker Hills Golf Club in Offaly with Captain John Boland celebrating at the course following Shane Lowry's wi
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen with Ray Molloy Marketing Manager and Co Owner of Esker Hills Golf Club in Offaly with Captain John Boland celebrating at the course following Shane Lowry's wi
Shane Lowry celebrates after sinking a birdie putt on the eighteenth hole to win the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club
Shane Lowry, from Ireland, pumps his fist as he watches his birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament at Firestone Country Club, Sunday
Shane Lowry of Ireland (R) celebrates with his caddie Dermot Byrne after a birdie putt on the 18th green during the final round of the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on August 9, 2015 in Akron, Ohio.
Amy (2 and a half), Sean (4) and twin sister Edel Gillespie from Ballinamere Offaly celebrating Shane Lowry's win at Esker Hills Golf Club in Offaly
Sean Lowry
Sean Lowry

Grown men were reduced to tears in Shane Lowry's local clubhouse when the Offaly man sunk his final shot to win the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

Scores gathered in Esker Hills golf club in Clara, Co Offaly last Sunday evening to watch history unfold and raise a glass - or three - to a local hero.

"We were watching it with our hands over our eyes, it was just incredible," Shane's uncle Sean Lowry told the Herald.

"I remember people saying, when he won the Irish Open, that he was just a flash in the pan, but what people didn't realise is that he spent nearly every day on that golf course perfecting his game.

"He has the attitude and the composure to go even further in the game and his long and short game are both outstanding."

Lowry held off the challenge of three major champions to claim the biggest victory of his career and a cheque for €1.45m after a stunning final round of 66 at Firestone Country. He has climbed 29 places in the world rankings to move to the 19th slot.

The impeccable round saw Lowry finish 11 under par, two shots ahead of double Masters champion Bubba Watson, with Justin Rose and Jim Furyk another two shots back after disappointing rounds of 72.

"There's a real sense of euphoria around the place today," said Esker Hills Golf Club captain John Boland.

"After every single hole the place rocked. It's unbelievable for us, we're a small club with about 200 members so it's massive.

"But it's a fairy-tale. He's upped his game and now we need to up ours," he joked. "It was great when he won the Irish Open but this is stratosphere stuff."

Clara town was bustling with supporters yesterday, all of whom were eager to celebrate Lowry's win.

"It couldn't happen to a nicer guy, the win and money won't change him, he's so grounded," said Lorraine Rabbette (27), co-manager of Bunny's pub.

Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen made his way to Lowry's local around lunchtime to join in on the celebrations.

huge

"This is huge for Offaly and huge for Ireland," he said.

"I hope more people come to Clara now to play the same course Shane does all the time."

Cowen said he hoped to play a round with Lowry at some point in the future, but admitted that the champion golfer might be "wasting his time as I'm nowhere near his level".

Clara native Liam Wyer (72) was feeling emotional after a long night of partying.

"The whole evening was unbelievable; I've never seen men crying and hugging one another before," he said.

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