Ireland’s Shane Lowry heads into this week’s US PGA Championship at a career-high 19th in the world after claiming the biggest victory of his career in brilliant fashion in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Lowry carded a flawless final round of 66 at Firestone Country Club to finish 11 under par, two shots ahead of double Masters champion Bubba Watson, with former US Open champions Justin Rose and Jim Furyk another two shots back.
“It’s hard to believe but I played good today,” Lowry told Sky Sports 4. “I was quite nervous out there towards the end but made a lot of good decisions, hit the ball well and got a bit of luck as well which was nice.
“It’s great to be able to pull something off. I was kind of doubting myself a little this year, things haven’t been going my way but when you come out the other end it’s always nice.”
Lowry began the final round two shots off the lead but wiped out the deficit with birdies on the second and eighth before a spectacular recovery over the trees on the 10th set up another from two feet.
That gave the 28-year-old a two-shot lead and although Watson twice closed within a shot, Lowry found himself needing to par the last two holes for victory.
After his approach to the 17th ran up against the collar of rough Lowry produced an excellent chip and held his nerve to hole from five feet, but looked to be in trouble when he pulled his tee shot on the last into the trees.
However, the former Irish Open champion – he was still an amateur when he won the title in 2009 – found a good lie in the rough and powered a wedge over the trees to 11 feet, from where he holed for a birdie to make certain of the first prize of 1,570,000 US dollars.
“I was trying to get it on the front right of the green but pulled it a little bit, it went through the tree and rest is history,” added Lowry, who missed the cut on his US PGA debut at Whistling Straits in 2010.
Friends and family members were watching the action unfold on television at Lowry’s home club of Esker Hills, where they were also celebrating his younger brother Alan’s victory in the prestigious Mullingar Scratch Cup at the start of the week.