Sweden’s Norrman wins Irish Open as McIlroy falls away

Sweden’s Vincent Norrman won the Irish Open as Rory McIlroy’s title bid fell apart in Sunday’s final round at The K Club.

Norrman hit a superb 65 to finish on 14 under par, one shot ahead of second-placed Hurly Long.

Former champion Shane Lowry was part of a four-way tie for third on 12 under.

Norrman was six shots behind overnight leader Long at the start of the round, but he fired six birdies in the space of eight holes from the seventh and then two-putted the par-five 18th.

Long was briefly on the same score thanks to a birdie on the 12th, but bogeyed the next two holes and was unable to make an eagle on the last to force a play-off.

McIlroy had started the final round two shots behind Long, with birdies on the first and fourth holes giving him hope of victory.

But he found water on the seventh, 11th and twice on the 16th as he stumbled to a disappointing round of 74.

“It means everything,” Norrman said after his second DP World Tour title in two months following his triumph at the Barbasol Championship in July.

“It’s such a cool event to play, the fans have been incredible and I really had a fun week out there. I can’t believe this happened.

“I was starting off a little so-so and I made two birdies and got a rain delay, had a coffee and then went out and flushed it.

“I knew there were a few chances out there. I didn’t really have a number in my head. I just tried to press on with some birdie looks and saved a few great pars too to keep the momentum going.”

Lowry, who began the week facing questions about his Ryder Cup wild card after recording just one top-10 finish in 2023, recorded a third 68 of the week which featured a tap-in eagle on the fourth and four birdies.

“It’s obviously a tournament that I would love to win again,” said 2009 champion Lowry.

“I’m a little disappointed now because to be honest I didn’t see a scoreboard for a long time out there. There was not many out there and 13 under was still leading when I got to the 16th green.

“I did my best and it’s been a great week. The crowds were incredible. It’s one of the best Irish Opens I can remember.” (AFP)