The 148th Open 2019 / Royal Portrush

It may have taken 68 years for The Open to return to Northern Ireland but it was more than worth the wait as home favourite Shane Lowry emerged triumphant at Royal Portrush.

The man from the island of Ireland provided a fitting conclusion to an historic week on the County Antrim coast, thrilling the partisan crowds en route to claiming the prestigious Claret Jug.

"It's just incredible to be sitting here with a trophy in front of me,” he said after his victory. “Look at the names on it. I couldn't believe that it was me. I couldn't believe it was happening.

“I thought about it all day but I didn't really let myself think about it until I hit my tee shot on 17. As soon as I hit that tee shot, I knew that I couldn't really lose a ball from there, and that's how I felt."

“It’s an incredible feeling. I just went out there and tried to give my best. And look, I'm here now, a major champion. I can't believe I'm saying it, to be honest.” Shane lowry, 2019 champion golfer of the year

Lowry had flown under the radar in the build up to The 148th Open as Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy attracted all the attention.

But once honorary starter Clarke kicked off the first Open to be held outside mainland Great Britain since Portrush last hosted in 1951, the county Offaly native quickly came to the fore.

The 32-year-old, who had missed his last four cuts at The Open, went into the weekend with a share of the lead with American veteran JB Holmes after carding impressive back-to-back 67s.

He then landed a knockout blow on Saturday with a sensational bogey-free 63 – a course record for the new Portrush layout – to take a healthy four-shot advantage into the final round.

Lowry even had a birdie chance on the 18th to equal the lowest round in major history set by Branden Grace at Royal Birkdale in 2017 only for it to slide agonisingly left of the hole.

Nevertheless, one of the greatest rounds in Open history had put him on the brink of victory and captured the imagination of the Irish crowd as they roared him on every step of the way.

And having set a new 54-hole scoring record for The Open, Lowry held his nerve in the wind and rain on Sunday to see off the challenge of Tommy Fleetwood and be crowned Champion Golfer.

His final round of 72 was enough to complete a dominant six-shot victory over the Englishman, prompting the home support to swarm the 18th fairway to celebrate his memorable success.

Lowry was not the only player to write his name into the Open record books either, with Ryan Fox setting a back-nine record score at The Open of 29 with six birdies in seven holes on Thursday.

That day Emiliano Grillo also claimed the first hole-in-one at The Open since 2016 when he aced the 13th, but it was ultimately Lowry’s week as he soaked in the adulation from his maiden major win.