Rory McIlroy’s win at the Open championship sparked a joyous celebration at his home town club in Holywood.
Having watched the local golfing superstar begin his final round at Royal Liverpool with a six-shot lead, the buoyant mood in the clubhouse turned to nervous tension as the chasing pack gradually narrowed the gap.
There were audible groans when McIlroy bogeyed two holes in succession - all eyes now firmly fixed on the big screen at one end of the packed bar.
However, the mood lightened again as a delicate chip from bunker on the 7th green brought the first raucous cheer of the evening.
Watching intently was the Holywood club’s professional Stephen Crooks. As McIlroy completed the first nine holes, Mr Crooks said it had been a decent start considering the immense pressure.
“He’s playing pretty sensible. I think it’s going to be tight, but maybe this is better than someone winning by 12 shots,” he said.
From the 10th hole onwards even a par from McIlroy was being warmly applauded in the bar - as a sign of relief more than celebration.
The tension was finally relieved as the final putt went in to rapturous applause. and the party could begin.
As he watched the trophy presentation, Mr Crooks said the Holywood golfer could now establish himself as one of the game’s greats.
“That’s what he wants and I know he’s doing his best to win as many majors as possible,” he added.
One of those in the sea of beaming faces was another McIlroy with ambitions to emulate his famous cousin.
Fergus, who already has his handicap down to eight, said Rory’s win meant his quality was undisputed.
“You don’t win the Open through luck so everyone knows he’s a great player. He’s also good helping out with all of the young ones when he’s back at the club,” he said.
Another viewer engrossed in the live television coverage was John Hodgen - a member of the club’s green-keeping team.
“Rory was always an ordinary boy with an extraordinary talent,” he said.