The Open: Champion Shane Lowry’s home club Esker Hills enjoys its ‘biggest day ever’

Members of Esker Hills golf club enjoy Shane Lowry's Open win
Members of Esker Hills golf club enjoy Shane Lowry's Open win
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Unbridled joy took hold at Shane Lowry’s home golf club of Esker Hills as the Offaly man was crowned The Open champion at Portrush.

There were tears, shouts and screams as the Clara native claimed his first major title with a six-shot winning margin.

Shane Lowry’s grand-uncle Thomas Newman was among the supporters packed into the small club on the outskirts of Tullamore.

He said his heart was in his mouth as Lowry inched closer to the win. Despite a strong lead, Mr Newman said he was still afraid until the final moments.

“He’s wonderful, he’s brilliant for this club,” he said.

“It’s an absolutely huge achievement.”

Mr Newman said the friends Lowry had made when starting at the club two decades ago were still his friends now.

“Every time he steps in the door here he is treated like God here. It’s as simple as that,” he added.

Mr Newman said it would be weeks before the win sinks in and he couldn’t wait for the homecoming.

“It’ll be massive, there’s no doubt about it. Whenever it does happen it will be fantastic,” he added.

Club manager Ray Molloy described it as “the biggest day ever at Esker Hills”.

“We’re just so pleased, we can’t believe it. Shane said he was pinching himself coming up the 18th fairway, I’m still pinching myself.

“It’s so important to a small community and a small golf course, for him to win the biggest golf tournament in the world this year and to win it so easily,” he said.

“And to think Shane came here as a young golfer and learned his skills on the hills of Esker.”

Mr Molloy said the small club had about 220 members, and dozens had turned out to watch the final stages on a big screen in the club house.

“We’re just so proud of him, we cannot believe our luck,” he added.

Mr Molloy’s daughter Michelle likened the atmosphere to an All-Ireland football final day.

“The jerseys are out, the banners are out, the colours are out,” she said. “There’s great excitement, and there’s great pride in Shane and how far he’s come.”

Ms Molloy said Lowry had gone from winning the Irish Open 10 years ago as an amateur to claiming The Open, “the creme de la creme of the majors”.

“It’s really exciting for us ... Everyone is behind him. He’s part of the community,” she said. “He’s such a nice guy, it makes you want to support him even more.”

Local man Eoin Flanagan, who played a round of golf with the 32-year old major winner after his Irish Open win, said: “It’s huge for Ireland, it’s huge for Offaly. It’s a huge achievement ... He’s up there on the world stage and he’s going to be a name in every household.”

Andy Hoctor, who plays in the club, said everyone knew Lowry and loved him.

As Lowry stepped up to take some of his final shots, Mr Hoctor said: “Everyone is so nervous, you’re nearly afraid to look at it. You couldn’t say enough to explain how great it is.”