Rónán MacNamara in Rome
Shane Lowry might not have holed the winning putt for Europe in Sunday’s Ryder Cup but there is no doubt he created this most electrifying scenes in Marco Simone.
Lowry was involved in a magnificent singles contest with Jordan Spieth, going down to the wire before being fairly halved given the display both players produced.
Europe began the day with a five point cushion over the USA needing just four points to regain the Ryder Cup, but a seemingly facile task proved more difficult and more stressful than many envisaged. Lowry, teeing off in the tenth match, began with little fanfare away from the bulk of the crowd. But as Zach Johnson’s US side valiantly fought back in the middle matches of the session Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood’s matches would prove critical.
Lowry fought back from 3DN after five holes to Spieth to win the 17th and go ahead for the first time cueing wild scenes of celebration. This was moments after Fleetwood had guaranteed the winning half point for Europe in his match with Rickie Fowler after the American had found the water on the drivable 16th.
While Fleetwood and Fowler finished up on 17, it was Lowry who ended up being the centre of attention of the chaotic scenes of celebration on 18, being engulfed in the stampede walking down the fairway and being hugged and congratulated by his teammates albeit while still trying to close out his own match.
“Yeah, it was an interesting day. Myself and Tommy and Bob were in the locker room before we went out and we joked about hoping that it wasn’t going to come down to our matches, and I couldn’t believe what we were seeing on the board, to be honest,” beamed Lowry who stole the show in the team press conference with wise cracks and gags.
“Those last couple of hours were probably two of the most stressful hours on the golf course I’ve had. But I felt like I was playing good golf and Jordan obviously got up early on me. I gave him maybe one or two holes, but I didn’t give much away. He played pretty good today and then I fought hard. I just fought hard all day and I knew I just needed to keep fighting hard for my team. And once I did that, I knew I would be okay.
“And then like the scenes coming down 18, I knew Tommy was 1 UP playing 16, and I saw Rickie hit it in the water on 16, and I thought if I could birdie 17, I was going to have a putt to win the Ryder Cup. That’s what I was thinking. So selfishly I was thinking, you know, I’m going to have a putt to win the Ryder Cup. This is going to be amazing. (Laughter).
“Thankfully, thankfully Tommy did it before me, and I was on the green on 17 and, I mean, I hit my putt and I holed it somehow, I have no idea how, and then 18 was just like I hit my drive, I didn’t care where it went, and then I was walking down, right, I try and win my point, but it’s like, whatever. I don’t really care. I said at the start of the week in here, I said, I don’t care if I make no points but as long as we win, it’s — that’s not what matters to me. What matters to me is winning, and I’m very happy and very proud of the lads.”