Shane Lowry ended his three-year wait for a win with a dramatic victory over the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday.
The Irishman peed good friend Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm by a single blow at Wentworth to claim his first title since The Open Championship in July 2019.
His sixth win on the DP World Tour, the 35-year-old carded a bogey-less 17-under over the modified 54-hole championship cut from the conventional 72-hole format after Friday’s second round was canceled after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
After firing a six-under 66 and 68 through the first two rounds, Lowry took two strokes off the lead on Sunday, but saw his final lap roar to life with an eagle on the fourth hole.
A fourth birdie on the 12th put Lowry on par with 2021 US Open champion Rahm, who had set the clubhouse goal at 16-under after scoring a joint best 62.
With McIlroy on his tail, a steady run of five straight pars forced Lowry to birdie on the final hole to avoid a playoff with Rahm. After a birdie on the 18th in the opening two rounds, the Irishman turned it into a hat trick to get within easy reach of the title.
McIlroy needed an eagle on the par-five last hole to force a playoff, and the Northern Irishman came painfully close to complete the feat. The recently crowned PGA Tour Championship winner found the green in two strokes, but his 23-foot eagle putt missed just inches to confirm Lowry as champion.
“I’m so happy,” Lowry told reporters. “It’s so hard to win on this tour, any tour. You have some of the best players in the world trying to chase you.
“I felt like my game was good enough all year to win, and I just felt like I didn’t have the breaks I needed to win tournaments.
“I’m just very grateful and very grateful that I got to win this, and what a tournament to win too. It seems I don’t like to go small when I do it, so it’s nice to have this on my resume too.”
Lowry has had four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this season, including a second-place finish at the Honda Classic in February, earning $3,616,679 in prize money.
His triumph Sunday sees him take home €1,351,105.60 ($1,373,533.95), sweetening the joy of ending a frustrating rut.
“I think if I don’t cross the line today I might go back and ask questions about what should I do differently or what should change because yes my wave is good but if you don’t knock when you win and you plays well, you may have to ask questions,” Lowry said.
“You spend your life and your career getting up early every day, driving yourself crazy to get into these positions and when you get into these positions it’s pretty uncomfortable.
“It’s not the prettiest place in the world because you don’t want to mess it up and sit in your hotel room after you ditch the tournament and it’s not a nice place to be.”
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth Friday, play resumed after a two-minute silence by players, staff and fans on Saturday morning, with Lowry paying tribute to “an incredible woman”.
“I felt it was good to go ahead and just have a celebration of her life this weekend, instead of just whining about it,” he said.
“The whole world is saddened by her loss, but great to see the crowds come out yesterday and today. I thought it was a great way to say goodbye. I know it might not mean much to anyone, but that’s what I thought.”
McIlroy, who had pushed Lowry to the title eight years ago, said he was pleased to see Lowry finally reaping the benefits of his consistent form.
“He’s had a lot of close calls here. He finished second to me when I won in 2014 and he has me back today,” the 33-year-old told reporters.
“He’s been knocking on the door for a while. He has played a lot of good golf this year without really crossing the line.
“So really happy for him. We’ve become incredibly close in recent years, and yes, good to see.”