Shane Lowry is the new man on the Irish sporting landscape.

At just 22 years of age, the 16th best amateur golfer on planet Earth, a young man from Clara in Co. Offaly whose father Brendan won a dramatic All-Ireland football final against Kerry back in 1982, made sporting history on the spectacular Baltray links last Sunday afternoon.

As the Angelus loomed large on the RTE One schedule, the nation was glued to its television screens as young Shane sunk the putt that guaranteed his place in the history books.

Before last week no amateur had ever finished higher than 15th in the Irish Open. Before last week only two amateurs had even won European Tour events, both of them inside the last two years.

Before last week very few of us knew much about Shane Lowry other than the fact that he was the amateur who gained his invite to the Irish Open courtesy of the Golfing Union of Ireland.

By Sunday night young Shane Lowry was worldwide news, never mind a man worthy of the national headlines.

He may not have interrupted the Angelus -- he sank the winning putt just in time for RTE to screen the weather and switch the golf over to Network Two -- but Shane Lowry brought the country to a standstill on Sunday evening.

I was fascinated by the Lowry story, about how a 22-year-old who describes himself as a “full time” amateur had taken on some of the best professionals in Europe and beaten them at their own game -- at the first time of asking.

I wanted to know how he felt about missing out on the 500,000 prize money than instead went to second placed Robert Rock on Sunday evening, and  to know the answer to the question on everyone’s lips -- will Shane Lowry turn pro now?

If I was to put a bet on that one, I’d say Shane Lowry will be a full paid up member of the pro game by the end of the month if not the end of next week.

He has a two and a half year exemption now that guarantees him entry into every competition under the auspices of the European Tour where money will be at stake.

And having taken on and beaten the pros as an amateur last weekend, there is nothing to suggest he can’t beat them again as one of their own.

What Lowry did last Sunday in Baltray was incredible if not unbelievable, simply by virtue of the fact that I saw him play some fantastic golf over the course of the five days.

He may never win a tournament again -- there are no guarantees in the pro ranks, as Justin Rose will tell you -- but he won something far more special and precious than money last weekend.

When he won that playoff at Baltray, Shane Lowry won the hearts of the nation and the respect of the sporting world.

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