Ireland's Shane Lowry holds and kisses the Claret Jug trophy after winning the British Open Golf Championships at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Sunday, July 21, 2019.(AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Irishman Shane Lowry wins British Open at Royal Portrush

July 21, 2019 - 8:56 pm
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PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland (AP) — Shane Lowry made the 68 years between British Opens 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 British 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."

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.

Thousands of fans who filled these links off the North Atlantic began to celebrate when Lowry, after his fourth bogey in seven holes, rolled in an 8-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole to stretch his lead to six with three holes to play.

Lowry's smile got wider with every hole coming in.

When his approach to the 18th was just on the fringe, he stretched out his arms, hugging caddie Bo Martin. The loudest cheer of a raucous week was for a tap-in par that made Lowry a major champion.

Tommy Fleetwood had to settle for his second runner-up finish in a major. He missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the opening hole that would have cut the deficit to two, and he missed a 5-footer for par on the third hole. His hopes ended with a double bogey from the bunker and the rough, and he closed with a 74.

Royal Portrush last hosted the British Open in 1951, the only time it had been outside Scotland and England.

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PGA TOUR

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Jim Herman rode President Donald Trump's putting advice to victory in the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

Taking advantage of playing partner Kelly Kraft's two late bogeys, Herman finished with a 2-under 70 for a one-stroke victory at Keene Trace. A shot ahead with three to play, Kraft bogeyed the par-3 16th and par-4 17th in a closing 70.

Trump's regular golf partner while working as an assistant professional at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey, Herman changed to a conventional putting grip and clubhead at the president's suggestion following a recent round. The putter cooled off a bit Sunday after Herman opened with rounds of 65, 65 and 62, but he did just enough to edge Kraft — who shot 61 on Saturday — for his second PGA Tour title.

Encouraged by Trump to pursue a playing career, the 41-year-old Herman won the 2016 Shell Houston Open for his lone tour title — a victory that also followed a friendly round with Trump.

"I think I need to see him again soon," Herman said on the 18th green after a winning tap-in par. "He motivates me and puts me in a good spot."

Herman finished at 26-under 262. He received a spot in the PGA Championship, but not in the Masters.

Sepp Straka was a career-best third at 23-under after a 66.

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KORN FERRY TOUR

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Kristoffer Ventura of Norway won the Pinnacle Bank Championship for his second Korn Ferry Tour victory of the season and a spot on the PGA Tour next season.

Ventura closed with a 1-under 70 at The Club at Indian Creek for a two-stroke victory over Andres Gonzales and Chad Ramey. Ventura jumped from 22nd to sixth on the season points list, with the final top 25 getting PGA Tour cards.

The Mexican-born Ventura, who played at Oklahoma State, finished at 16-under 268 after opening with rounds of 67, 64 and 67. He won the Utah Championship three weeks ago

Gonzales and Ramey each shot 67.

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OTHER TOURS

Patty Tavatanakit won the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic in Rochester, New York, for her second Symetra Tour title of the year. The 19-year-old Thai player closed with a 5-under 67 for a 20-under 268 total and a seven-stroke victory over Jenny Coleman. Tavatanakit jumped to fourth on the money list with $75,121, likely more than enough to earn an LPGA Tour as a top-10 finisher. ... Calum Hill closed with a 4-under 66 for a four-stroke victory in the Challenge Tour's Euram Bank Open in Austria. The Scot finished at 18-under 262. ... Lorens Chan won the HFX Pro-Am in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for his first Mackenzie Tour title. He shot a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over former UCLA teammate Jake Knapp. Chan finished at 24-under 264. ... American Max McGreevy won the PGA Tour China's rain-shortened Guangzhou Open, shooting 62-67 to finish at 9 under. The second round was completed Sunday morning. Although an official victory, McGreevy's earnings are official and moved him to the top of the money list. ... Sakura Koiwai won the Japan LPGA's Samanthan Thavasa Girls Collection Ladies Tournament by a stroke. She closed with a 7-under 65 to finish at 17-under 199.

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