Irish golf fans celebrate as Lowry finishes third round
They were scenes more akin to a football match.
Thirty minutes after Shane Lowry finished his wonderful third round 63, hundreds of Irish golf fans danced and sang as their hero did his media duties yards away.
“Ole, Ole, Ole” – the traditional refrain to celebrate Irish sporting achievement – rang out again and again as interviewers struggled to be heard.
Each time the Co Offaly man emerged from one of the line of mini TV studios, the crowd erupted.
“Lowry give us a wave, Lowry, Lowry gave us a wave,” they sang.
The Irishman who leads the Open on its historic return to the island duly obliged. The crowd erupted.
Some of the fans climbed up the white picket fence enclosing the small media compound to get a better vantage point, others packed on to a cluster of nearby grassy mounds.
A few Irish tricolours flew in the air, as did some beer.
“Shane Lowry’s on fire, Portrush is terrified,” they roared to the tune of Gala’s Freed From Desire, a song famously adapted during the Euro 2016 football tournament in homage to Northern Ireland striker Will Grigg.
Martin Slumbers, the chief executive of tournament organisers the R&A, looked on at the scenes of delirium, laughing.
Half an hour earlier thousands sang and roared as Lowry made his way down the 18th fairway.
Afterwards he admitted he had never experienced anything like it in his career.
Among the crowds was Anthony Keane from Dublin
“He has been absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“It’s very special. We’re delighted with his performance, it’s been fantastic.
“Every hole has been like the 18th since he started on the first – the atmosphere has been amazing.”
Fellow Dubliner John McCarry said his nerves were already getting to him ahead of Sunday.
“It’s been great,” he said. “We just hope he can keep it going for tomorrow.
“I hope he can do it. I’m a little bit nervous but I just hope so.”