Open champion Shane Lowry: I sat in the vehicle park and cried

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"It's just incredible to be sitting here with the trophy in front of me".

"Look at the names on it".

"That just shows how fickle golf is", said Lowry. "I can't believe I'm saying it, to be honest".

The bearded, 32-year-old Lowry led going in to the final round of professional golf's last major championship of the year by four shots and was never seriously challenged.

"Fourteen was a killer blow." said Fleetwood. I always said after Oakmont, if I could have got the last four holes back, I'd give anything to be standing on the 14th fairway again. I love what I do, I know how lucky I am.

Shane Lowry may not have a Rudyard Kipling anthology on his bedside table but he has family and friends and they were the keys to turning a big "If" into a resounding "Yes" on the gnarled links of Royal Portrush.

Nine of the last 10 men's golf majors have been won by Americans, but Lowry broke the USA streak with victory on the links course to the delight of the crowd.

The first time was in 1951 when Max Faulkner won the Open here at Royal Portrush. It's amusing, I sometimes struggle to play in front of the home crowd and have done in the past, but not over the last few days.

The pro-Lowry crowd was fair to the man who came to spoil the party - there were regular roars of "Come on, Tommy!" and polite applause for his best of his shots - and there must have been concerns across the Emerald Isle when Lowry bogeyed the first hole after hitting his opening drive left and then finding the greenside bunker.

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"He started caddying for me in September of a year ago, just when I started to play well again".

Neither of the final pair were ever under any pressure from the chasing pack as they dropped further back in the rough conditions.

Lowry, who revealed he cried in the auto park after missing the cut at Carnoustie past year, revelled in victory and was met by Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington as he left the 18th green. Despite the tough finish it has been a great year for McDowell, who has a win and three top 10s on the PGA Tour.

Fleetwood, who briefly closed the deficit to three strokes early in the round, is at 11 under overall and 1 over on the day with nine holes to go.

"Props to Shane, he played unbelievable golf".

The victor of the 148th Open picked up three birdies in the front nine and despite finishing with back-to-back bogeys, he was still ahead by five going at the turn.

He added: "Along with everyone else in the tourism industry here, I am very confident that The Open will be back soon and that tourism has a very exciting future ahead thanks to how Portrush, the Causeway Coast and Glens and the whole of Northern Ireland has delivered".

However, J.B. Holmes, who led at the halfway stage with Lowry and started the day in third, endured a horrendous day as the American shot a 16-over 87 to tumble down to 67th.

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