found Shane Lowry celebrates after winning The Open, but the ball stayed in the hole
Gerard Donnelly just looked down and there it was in the 18th hole – the ball that Shane Lowry hit to win The Open at Royal Portrush.
It was the first day of the Co Tyrone teacher attending a golf event and following his fellow Irishman around the famous left course while Lowry triumphed on home soil.
Donnelly & # 39; s sight was blocked when Lowry & # 39; s ball fell into the last hole to secure his first major, so he had no idea the new champion was did not emerge during the celebrations.
An hour later, with the presentation and speeches completed, the cordon around the green was lifted and he walked onto the beloved surface with friends.
"I just wanted to see where he made the putt to win The Open – I just went to the hole, looked inside and saw something in it, it didn't even cause a trigger for me, "said Donnelly.
"I just bent down and grabbed a ball and then four men roared at me in the stands: & # 39; What did you just pick up there? & # 39;
"When I described it, there was a clover on it, they said it was Shane Lowry's ball that won The Open. People soon spoke pictures of me with the ball. It was my very first golf event, so it was just incredible.
"I can't believe no one else saw it before I got there because I'm sure 100 people walked past that hole. That night was like a blur, a mix of it want to tell people and not tell people at the same time – I didn't want it stolen. "
Donnelly soon got in touch with Lowry's management company – they suggested that he ball to them, but this was too precious a treasure to risk that.
"It's not something I like to post in case it gets lost, but Shane has followed me on Twitter and if he wants to, I'll go down and hand it over to him, "he added.
"I wouldn't sell it and keep it in a little box. It's a brilliant keepsake for the Irish sport, for Shane Lowry to win The Open when it's held in Portrush and the ball is used to win the putt.
"It's amazing – everyone who comes to the house wants the & # 39; Lowry ball & # 39; see, but few are allowed to hold it.
"Ideally I would give it to him. It's great for me to have, but it has sentimental value to him and might be something for him to always look back on .
"I'd love to meet him, so if he wants to, we can arrange that. I give him the ball and when a VIP ticket is offered for an event I don't say no! "