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Open winner Lowry eager to be a golden boy in Tokyo Olympics


Home is the hero: Shane Lowry with the Claret Jug in Clara last night
Home is the hero: Shane Lowry with the Claret Jug in Clara last night

By Brian Keogh

Open champion Shane Lowry wants to be big in Japan and win Olympic gold for Ireland in Tokyo next summer.

The Offaly man (32) was heavily criticised for pulling out of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, citing fears over the Zika virus, but now that he has his hands on the silver Claret Jug, he said yesterday he'd love nothing better than to win Ireland's first gold medal in golf and even lead out the Irish team as the flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

"It will be incredible, won't it?" said Lowry, who is 10th in the Olympic Rankings and looking certain to join Rory McIlroy, who has also committed to Ireland, on the team in Japan.

"I missed the last one. I got a lot of stick for that. I had my own reasons. But this has gone a long way to putting me on the plane for Japan."

Lowry's wife Wendy had just become pregnant when the Olympics team was being finalised for 2016.

But with two-year-old daughter Iris running out to hug him after his six-shot Open win at Portrush on Sunday, he's determined not to miss out this time.

"I'm very excited to be going," he said. "We'll be going over the week after The Open next year for the opening ceremony so to be around all that will be pretty cool. Wins are hard to come by but hopefully I can go there and bring a medal home."

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Lowry still can't believe he lifted the Claret Jug on Sunday.

"I can't stop looking at my name on it," he said before heading to Clara for a homecoming parade last night.

"Where I'm from is huge into the GAA and I've been lucky enough, albeit a long time ago, to watch Offaly win the All-Ireland. And to hear people from there tell me this is even more special is incredible really."

His win and the success of The Open in Portrush could be just the impetus the Irish government needed to persuade the European Tour to give the 2026 Ryder Cup to Adare Manor.

"People are working away at that so hopefully it happens," said Lowry, who is determined to be in Padraig Harrington's team next year.

"It would be great to see the Ryder Cup back in Ireland," he added.

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