How Edinburgh coach Neil Manchip was driving force behind Shane Lowry’s Open triumph

Shane Lowry wasn’t convinced he was good enough to become a major winner - but the Edinburgh man who coaches him kept telling him that he was!
Shane Lowry, pictured with the Claret Jug, praised Neil ManchipShane Lowry, pictured with the Claret Jug, praised Neil Manchip
Shane Lowry, pictured with the Claret Jug, praised Neil Manchip

Neil Manchip has worked with Lowry throughout his amateur and professional career and the new Open champion heaped praise on the former Turnhouse member as the Claret Jug sat beside him at Royal Portrush.

“I suppose I didn’t even know going out this morning if I was good enough to win a major,” admitted Lowry after recording a six-shot success in the final major of the season on the Antrim coast.

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“I knew I was able to put a few days together. I knew I was able to play the golf course. I just went out there and tried to give my best. And look, I’m here now, a major champion. I can’t believe I’m saying it, to be honest.

Neil Manchip receiving his PGAs of Europe coach of the year award 2015Neil Manchip receiving his PGAs of Europe coach of the year award 2015
Neil Manchip receiving his PGAs of Europe coach of the year award 2015

“I think the people around me really believed that I could, which helped me an awful lot. I do remember a lot of times in the past when I was down on myself and had serious chats with Neil.

“He always reminded me, he always said that I was going to win one, at least one. So I suppose when the people around you really believe in you, it helps you an awful lot.”

After getting off to a good start in the event, Lowry revealed that he’d benefited from a pep talk from Manchip the previous day.

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He touched on that again after joining Fred Daly, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy as Irish winners in golf’s oldest major.

“I think it changed a lot,” said the 32-year-old Offaly man, “because I was quite nervous and anxious on Wednesday evening and we went for that chat.

“You come up here, and I suppose the other lads would have had it as well, G-Mac (Graeme McDowell) and the lads. The last thing you want to do is come up here and miss the cut. That’s the last thing you want to do. And that was kind of in my mind.

“I wanted to play at least four days, and wanted to put up a good show for myself. Being in home. I was showing good form over the last while.

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“So, yeah, it really settled me down. I left the Bushmills Inn the other night and I really felt like I could go out and perform to the best of my ability the next day. So it obviously helped me an awful lot along the way.”

Lowry’s victory in the first Open to be held on Irish soil in 68 years came on the back of four straight cuts in the event and he was at a low ebb when making an early exit at Carnoustie 12 months ago.

“That just shows how fickle golf is,” he said. “Golf is a weird sport and you never know what’s around the corner. That’s why you need to remind yourself, and you need other people there to remind you. You need to fight through the bad times.

“I sat in the car park in Carnoustie on Thursday, almost a year ago right to this week, and I cried. Golf wasn’t my friend at the time. It was something that become very stressful and it was weighing on me and I just didn’t like doing it. What a difference a year makes, I suppose.”

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And, talking about the recption after his win, he added: “I soaked it in as much as I could,” “But it was hard too because it’s a very surreal experience.

“I welled up when I saw my family and it was nice, very nice of Paddy (Padraig Harrington) and G-Mac to be standing on the back of the tee for me. And Gary Murphy was there as well, who is a good friend of mine and was great to me when I started out on Tour.”