SHANE LOWRY is the “lazy” down-to-earth golfer who was teased about his weight but now stands head and shoulders above the rest as leader of The Open.
Lowry, 32, the son of famous Gaelic footballer Brendan Lowry, weighs almost 16st and the first thing on his mind after winning the Irish Open as an amateur was to “have a couple of pints”.
But now, 10 years on, he stands to bag a huge £1.5million if he can keep his lead at Royal Portrush in front of the thousands of adoring Irish fans.
Easy-going Lowry is not your typical gym-obsessed, win-at-all-costs sports star.
He once described himself as “borderline lazy” and said: “If there is something to be done, I sometimes sit back and forget to do it. Before you know it, it’s too late.”
No such complacency has crept into his golf game though, as shown yesterday with a stunning third-round 63 which gave him a four shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood.
Lowry, who is from Clara in Co Offaly, married wife Wendy Honner in a low-key New York ceremony in 2016, the week after playing in The Masters.
The couple met on a “random night out” and Lowry proposed on a Dubai beach in 2014.
They are an incredibly close knit unit and Lowry even says Wendy’s sisters are his two heroes.
Lowry explained: “My girlfriend Wendy’s sister Melissa had a kidney transplant recently and her other sister, Alison, donated one of her kidneys. So I admire them immensely.”
Shane and his missus are proud parents of little Iris, who was seen holding her daddy’s hand when he made his way into the Portrush clubhouse before the final round.
Lowry, who turned pro in 2009, has not been without his critics, however, and he was once told to lose weight after throwing away a four-shot lead at the 2016 US Open.
A journalist suggested Lowry’s mates should tell him to shift some pounds to improve his concentration.
Irish Examiner columnist Kieran Shannon wrote: “You’d hope so with all the friends he has, that some of them will be frank and honest enough with him to tell him a couple of home truths, over a few pints if need be: to give yourself the best chance to win majors, you’ve got to lose some more of that weight.
“A contributing factor to Lowry’s slippage had to be mental fatigue brought on by physical fatigue.
“The more tired you are, the more prone to being distracted you are.”
Lowry took no notice of the “advice” and continued as he was, even handing out free cans of Guinness to fans in America during one tournament.
For all his success as a golfer though, Lowry has one dream he wants to accomplish far, far away from the course.
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He told Irish Golf Desk: “I’d love to be a rock star. I saw The Script in the Aviva stadium and Danny, the lead singer, opened up his jacket and held his arms out wide and he had a tricolour underneath.
“I just thought, ‘I’d loooove to be a rock star’.”
If he wins today and takes home the Claret Jug then he will be able to say he succeeded on the biggest stage of all.