Shane Lowry showed he was ready to take his place in a golden era of Irish golf when he won the European Tour’s 3 Irish Open in 2009 while still an amateur.
Lowry beat Robert Rock in a playoff for the title, and Padraig Harrington highlighted the scale of this achievement when he said, “It’s fabulous for Irish golf. You only have to look at the fact it is such a rarity for an amateur to win, such a rarity for an Irish player to win the Irish Open. So, on a lot of fronts, it is a big deal. It was very impressive.”
Lowry was only the third amateur to ever win a title on the European Tour, and it put in the spotlight a career many believe will be one of the greatest in Irish golf.
Lowry’s amateur career certainly backs this up.
He followed in the footsteps of such Irish greats as Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, Peter Lawrie, Paul McGinley and Rory McIlroy by winning the Irish Amateur Close Championship in 2007.
Lowry was also a member of the Ireland team that won the European Amateur Team Championship in 2007 and retained the title in 2008.
These were the standout victories in a long list of amateur triumphs for Lowry.
Following his 3 Irish Open triumph, Lowry decided to turn professional in 2009. But it was a tough transition for him to the pro ranks as he missed his first three cuts.
Then in November 2009 he finished third in the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in Japan for a much-needed confidence boost.
In 2010 he played in his first Major in the Open Championship that year, finishing tied 37th. But it was in qualifying where he made the biggest impact, equaling Sir Nick Faldo’s course record at Sunningdale of 62.
In 2012, Lowry claimed his second European Tour title with a victory in the Portugal Masters.
This year, Lowry caught the headlines when he finished second behind good friend Rory McIlroy in the BMW PGA Championship. It earned him the biggest cheque of his career and host of world ranking points.
But as Lowry said afterwards, “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. If ever there is a thin line between winning and losing, I have just discovered it”.
Growing up in the town of Clara in Ireland, Lowry came to golf almost by accident.
“When I was a kid, I spent my summers playing pitch and putt on the local course with my mates. It was there that I learned the basics and honed my short game without even knowing it. I started playing golf proper when I was 12. My family wasn’t really into golf, so I taught myself how to play. I took every chance I had to get out on the course. I can’t say it didn’t frustrate my family and teachers a bit back then. I think they’ve forgiven me now though.”
Lowry shares the Irish patriotism of his colleagues on tour.
“Ireland is a place that welcomes you in without even trying. I’m proud to be from one of the most beautiful places on earth and grateful for the life I lead. I play golf on the most extraordinary courses the world has to offer. I compete against the heroes of today and surround myself with past legends of the game. But best of all, I get to come home to my friends and family where I’ll always be just Shane. I don’t think I’ll ever get too big for my boots, and if I did, they’d be quick enough to bring me back down to earth.”