OK, he didn’t repeat. But Shane Lowry did his two-year reign as Great Britain’s Champion Golfer of the Year proud.
The 34-year-old Irishman closed his week at Royal St. George’s with a 69 on Sunday. After waiting an extra year to put his 2019 British Open championship on the line, he proved the performance at Royal Portrush was no accident.
Lowry opened the championship with a 1-over-par 71 on Thursday, which was nothing to apologize for, but nothing to get excited about. But he fired a 5-under 65 on Friday to make the cut and get into contention. A 69 on Saturday, and another on Sunday, wasn’t enough to climb the board and push the leaders.
Lowry knew he was up against it, coming into the final round trailing the lead by seven shots.
"I'm not sure I can win from here,” he said before the final round started.
Nonetheless, Lowry made the most of his two years as the reigning British Open champion, and his 6-under score for the championship allows him to surrender the Claret Jug with his head up.
“I really enjoyed the whole week; it was an amazing experience,” Lowry said. “Walking down the last hole today was one of the coolest things you'll ever get to do, and I got to do it.
“I obviously would have liked to have finished a little bit better, but it's a pretty nice result in a big tournament and another good performance. I feel like I've played four majors, obviously, this year, and I feel like three out of four of them I've had really good performances, played some of my best golf.”
Lowry tied for 21st at the Masters in April, then finished T4 at the PGA Championship. He was not as competitive at the U.S. Open, but made the cut at Torrey Pines and tied for 65th. And while his British Open defense is over, Lowry won’t have to wait long for more big moments
He will join Rory McIlroy to represent Ireland in the approaching Olympics, which will begin on Friday in Tokyo. Lowry admitted he’s not sure what to expect, but he knows what the goal is.
“I'll be trying my best,” he said. “Obviously, it's a huge honor for me to go and represent my country at the Olympics. It's something I never thought I'd do, but now I get to go and do it. I'm going with one goal and one ambition, and that's to bring a medal back to Ireland.
“That's the only reason I'm going. I'm not going there on my holidays. I'm going there to win a medal, and that's kind of the way I look at it.”
More Final-Round British Open Coverage From Morning Read:
- 18 Parting Shots from the 149th British Open
- Best Photos From Sunday at Royal St. George's
- Collin Morikawa Rallies to Win 149th British Open for 2nd Career Major Title
- Jordan Spieth Regrets Early Mental Lapses After Runner-Up Finish
- Oosthuizen Fails to Close Another Major, Slumps Into Tie for Third
- Brooks Koepka Laments What Might've Been After Strong Finish
- Shane Lowry's Two-Year Reign as Open Champ Ends Respectfully
- Bryson DeChambeau Caps Humbling Week With Final-Round 65
- Final Purse, Payouts, Prize Money Breakdown for 2021 British Open
- How Henry Cotton Captivated England at 1934 Open at Royal St. George's