Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

McIlroy support means world to champion Shane

Rory McIlroy urged good friend and former Ireland teammate on to victory at the 18th green as the Co Offaly amateur sealed a stunning Irish Open victory at Baltray last night.

The advantage had swung several times on 18 in normal as well as extra time time.

As Lowry stood on the 72nd hole over a five foot putt for birdie and victory, the title was at his mercy. Yet he couldn’t resist a look, pulling the putt left of the hole.

“Obviously the nerves got to me and I just pulled it. I was just shaking over that putt,” said the 22-year-old, who buried his head in his hands.

In the massive crowd surrounding the green, his mother Briget did the same.

But McIlroy made sure to put his arm around his former Irish amateur teammate’s shoulder as he left the green, saying: “You’ve still got this. You are still going to win this.”

These vital words and the calm assurance of his caddie, David Reynolds, helped Lowry (pictured right) regain his composure for the playoff and later he’d pay due regard to McIlroy.

“I’ve known Rory for a few years now and I’d wondered if he’d wait around for the finish. I actually thought about that for some reason, I don’t know why,” said Lowry. “It was great to see him there.”

This gave fair measure of the camaraderie which the GUI engenders in their squads and why Lowry intended to think carefully overnight before deciding if he’d turn professional or remain amateur until after September’s Walker Cup.

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Ulster twins Leona , theholder, and Lisa Maguire from the Slieve Russell have successfully negotiated the qualifying rounds of the Lancome Irish Women’s Close Championship at Fota Island, with Lisa winning the Leitrim Cup as the leading qualifier after day two for the second year in succession.

Leona shot a one-under 73 with Lisa signing for a two-under 72 yesterday afternoon. These superb scores in tricky playing conditions followed opening rounds of level-par 74 on Saturday for both of the 14-year-old golf sensations.

Lisa tees off alongside Mary Crowley at 8.0, while Leona will be at the other end of the field, hitting off last at 10.15 against Emma Gilmore from Mountbellew.

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