Amateurs don’t win tour events very often.
In fact, the PGA Tour can only boast eight amateur champions, starting with Frank Stranahan at the 1945 Durham War Bond Tournament and ending with Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open.
The European Tour, meanwhile, has three amateur champions in its history books. Pablo Martin won the 2007 Estoril Portuguese Open, Danny Lee won the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic and, later the same year, Shane Lowry lifted the Irish Open.
Lowry’s victory at County Louth was only the third win by an Irishman in his home Open, following in the footsteps of Christy O’Connor Jr in 1975 and Padraig Harrington in 2007. Only Rory McIlroy has won it since.
On Lowry’s win, Harrington said: “You only have to look at the fact it is such a rarity for an amateur to win, and such a rarity for an Irish player to win the Irish Open. On a lot of fronts, it is a big deal.”
Lowry gave up the amateur game immediately and was inside the world’s top 100 just eight months after his breakthrough win. His leap onto the global stage came right at the start of a purple patch for Irish golf, particularly in the majors.
By that point Harrington had won all three of his majors to date, while over the next five years, McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke would go on to win six between them. Prior to Harrington’s first win, Fred Daly – in 1947 – was the only player from the Emerald Isle to win a major.
After winning a second European Tour title at the 2012 Portugal Masters and making his PGA Tour breakthrough by winning the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Lowry had a chance of winning a seat at the top table himself in 2016 when he led the US Open at Oakmont by five shots going into the final round. But bogeys at 14, 15 and 16 ended his hopes of a maiden major title.
Alex Perry sat down with the 31-year-old ahead of the British Masters to chat about his career so far. You can either watch the video at the video above, or head to the next page to read what Lowry had to say…