Lowry triumphs with clutch display at Firestone

Sun Aug 9, 2015 7:46pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AKRON, Ohio (Reuters) - Ireland's Shane Lowry, helped by sensational recovery shots at the 10th and 18th that both led to birdies, clinched his first PGA Tour victory by two strokes at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday.

Two off the pace heading into the final round at Firestone Country Club, Lowry overhauled third-round leaders Jim Furyk and Justin Rose, and held off a charging Bubba Watson with a closing four-under-par 66 in overcast conditions.

The bearded Irishman, ranked 48th in the world, registered four birdies and several clutch par saves in a flawless display on a tree-lined layout where danger lurked at every corner to post an 11-under total of 269.

American left-hander Watson, ranked third and bidding for his third PGA Tour victory this season, also signed off with a 66 to secure second place in an elite field of 77 players at the World Golf Championships event.

Lowry's final birdie of the day came at the par-four last where he struck his second shot from the left rough through trees and over a bunker to 11 feet beyond the flag, then coolly sank the putt.

"I played as good a golf as I've ever played the last four days," Lowry, 28, a double winner on the European Tour, told CBS Sports after celebrating his birdie on the 18th green with three fist pumps.

"I managed to hole a few putts and get a bit of luck. I was quite nervous with a few holes to go. But I made a lot of good decisions, hit the ball well. It's such a good feeling to shoot a bogey-free 66 on the golf course like that."

Lowry became the first player from Ireland to win a WGC title and earned a three-year exemption on the PGA Tour through the 2017-2018 season.   Continued...

Shane Lowry (l) and Jim Furyk shake hands after finishing the third round of the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club - South Course. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports