Ireland’s Shane Lowry bagged his first victory on American soil when overcoming a leaderboard packed with major champions to land the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.
The 28 year old bagged by far the biggest payday of his career when finishing on 11 under par at Firestone Country Club, to pull two shots clear of dual Masters champion Bubba Watson.
The 28 year old produced some memorable moments during an almost flawless final round 66, including a vital 17-foot putt to save par on the 14th hole, and an improbable birdie on the 18th hole, where from a difficult lie in the rough he clipped a greenside tree with his second shot to land 11 feet from the hole, before sinking a nerveless putt.
His fourth birdie of the day – after gains on the second, eighth and tenth holes – saw him finish two shots clear of Watson, who also closed with a 66. Joint overnight leaders Justin Rose and Jim Furyk both carded two-over-par 72s to finish four shots back.
It was only Lowry’s third tour victory, following his maiden win as an amateur in the 2009 Irish Open, and his follow-up title at the 2012 Portugal Masters.
“It doesn’t get any better than that, does it?” said Lowry. “To beat those guys down the stretch on a golf course as tough as this, especially in this condition, is incredible. To shoot 11 under par on this golf course shows that my game is good enough to compete at any level.”
Lowry, who was ranked 48th in the world prior to the tournament, moved up to 19th on the back of the victory, which came with a $1.57 million winner’s cheque, and also earned a three-year exemption on the PGA Tour.