The Open Championship 2019:Shane Lowry targets Ryder Cup qualification after celebrating Royal Portrush victory

Shane Lowry celebrates his Open triumph
Shane Lowry celebrates his Open triumph

Newly-crowned Open champion Shane Lowry says his big goal now is to qualify for next year's European Ryder Cup team, but not before he's fully enjoyed his Royal Portrush success.

Lowry powered away to a six-shot success in Northern Ireland to thrill a packed out home crowd and join national heroes Fred Daly, Padraig Harrington, Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy as the five Irish winners of the Open.

Along with the bumper payday, a career-best 17th in the world rankings and healthy 18th place in the FedEx Cup, the victory also propels Lowry into the thinking of European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington.

Although qualifying only starts in September this year, 32-year-old Lowry will be right at the top of the list of favourites to make the team for Whistling Straits next year, and he says making that trip to America to defend the trophy is his top target.

"Obviously in the short term I'm going to enjoy this, there's no doubt about that," Lowry said. "But in the long term you obviously want to back up your success.

"My big goal remains the same and that is to be on the plane going to Whistling Straits next year. That's my plan for the next 12 months. Hopefully that involves a couple of wins along the way.

"This is huge for me. Obviously a major championship and my first season winning twice.

"I have a lot of play for now. I'm well up in the FedEx Cup now, which is nice. I've got a busy few months ahead of me and I'm very excited.

"But I've learned my trade on the European Tour, I'm a European Tour member and love playing the European Tour. I'll be back in September to start my quest of making the Ryder Cup team next year and that's my focus the next 12 months."

Having fellow Irishman Harrington, who is a close friend, leading the European time will only aid Lowry's chances, but the new Open champion is determined to qualify by right.

Lowry credits Harrington

Lowry credits Harrington three major wins - including back-to-back Open victories - as the catalyst for a wonderfully successful period for Irish golf with Graeme McDowell, Clarke and McIlroy all tasting major success since.

Lowry, who turned professional after winning the 2009 Irish Open as a 22-year-old amateur, said: "There's a lot of people that helped me along the way.

"Gary Murphy, Damien McGrane and Peter Lawrie made sure that I flew with them, stayed in the same hotels, went to dinner with them, played practice rounds with them. They were great for me.

"And obviously Paddy and G-Mac (McDowell), they're two really good friends of mine now. To be able to hang around with someone like Padraig Harrington who paved the way for the success of Irish golfers.... I'm just so happy I can add my name to the list of major champions.

"I used to curse them an awful lot in the past because that's all anybody wanted to know about in Ireland because they were winning so many majors. When are you going to win one? Winning regular events wasn't good enough for anyone.

"People might say there's not enough Irish golfers on tour but look at the standard of Irish golfers we have. Rory McIlroy is one of the best players in the world, if not the best on his day.

"G-Mac I think is getting his stroke back and the careers that Paddy and Darren and those guys have had is just incredible."

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