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)


Treble-chasing Bayern to hunt their 2nd title this season on Saturday

Updated 04 July 2020

Treble-chasing Bayern to hunt their 2nd title this season on Saturday

  • Due to COVID-19 pandemic, only 700 fans will be allowed into the stadium for the final game

BERLIN: Treble-chasing Bayern Munich are hunting their second title this season in Saturday’s German Cup final, a behind-closed-doors showdown that should have been an “absolute highlight” for success-starved Bayer Leverkusen fans.

Normally, the end-of-season showpiece final at Berlin’s iconic Olympic Stadium would be a festive affair in front of a packed house of 75,000 supporters.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic just 700 will be allowed into the enormous stadium for this year’s final, including both teams, their backroom staff and officials.

Germany head coach Joachim Loew is one of the few invited guests.

After the final whistle, when German FA president Fritz Keller hands over the trophy, only the cheers of the winning team will echo around the cavernous stadium.

Former Bayern president Uli Hoeness finds it “a pity” that no fans will be present for the Berlin spectacle, while Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voeller feels the same before his club’s first cup final since 2009.

“For our fans, this would have been an absolute highlight after many years,” said former Germany midfielder Voeller.  “To play in this giant cauldron in front of just a few spectators is quite sad.”

Nevertheless, holders Bayern are determined to defend the cup, even if head coach Hansi Flick admits that without traveling support, their fans will be “very, very absent.”

Having lifted the Bundesliga trophy last Saturday for the eighth straight year, Bayern are targeting the next piece of silverware in their treble bid before tackling the Champions League in August.

“The boys are up for it and want to win the next title, we will do everything we can to achieve that,” said Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.

“We are very optimistic that we will come out as winners.”

 

Sane joins Bayern

Separately, Leroy Sane has targeted Champions League glory with Bayern Munich after joining the Bundesliga giants from Manchester City for a fee of around €50 million ($56 million) on Friday.

The Germany winger has returned to his home country on a 5-year contract after receiving the blessing of City coach Pep Guardiola.

“Bayern is a very big club and has big goals — these goals suit me as well,” said the 24-year-old Sane.

“I want to win as many titles as possible with Bayern, and the Champions League is at the top.”

The Bundesliga champions did not give the transfer fee, but Sky Sports and the BBC have reported that Bayern and City agreed a fee of €60.8 million. 

 

 

German daily Bild claim the fee is around
€50 million.

BERLIN: