Lowry's heroics makes The Open golf's hottest ticket

Shane Lowry of Ireland walks up the 18th fairway, arms aloft taking the crowds applause on his way to securing victory during the final round of the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush

Watching the Claret Jug being lifted is one of the most iconic sights in sport - and another capacity crowd is set to witness more Open history being made next year at Royal St George’s.

Tickets for the Championship Sunday at The 149th Open have sold out as demand to be in Sandwich for golf’s oldest and most prestigious major continues to scale unprecedented heights.

Next year’s Championship is already the fastest selling to date, following priority access sales to members of The One Club in July, while weekly and weekend bundles have also sold out.

In fact, excitement for the return of the Claret Jug to the South East was such that the record for the highest selling day of advanced tickets in Open history was smashed in under seven hours.

And tickets are selling fast for the other Championship Days, with less than 10 per cent remaining for Saturday, so golf fans are encouraged to move fast to secure their place on moving day.

The battle to become the next Champion Golfer of the Year is scheduled to take place at the famous links venue in Kent for the 15th time between July 12 and 19 in 2020.

Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke sealed his maiden major title the last time The Open visited Royal St George’s in 2011, fulfilling a childhood ambition to triumph on his 20th appearance.

He prevailed by three shots over nearest challengers Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in emotional scenes as he paid tribute to his first wife Heather, who died five years earlier from breast cancer.

But it will be another man from the island of Ireland who will defend the title of Champion Golfer in Sandwich after Shane Lowry clinched his first Claret Jug at The 148th Open at Royal Portrush.

68 years after The Open was last contested outside of mainland Great Britain, Lowry revelled in the partisan crowd as he topped the leaderboard on Sunday with a dominant six-shot victory.

His stunning triumph on the County Antrim coast came after he produced one of the great major rounds on the Saturday, shooting a sensational eight-under 63 to set a new course record.

Tommy Fleetwood was his nearest rival at Portrush and he will once again be one of the players to watch as he attempts to break the voodoo hanging over English golfers at The Open.

More than half a century has passed since an Englishman was last crowned Champion Golfer on English soil, with Tony Jacklin holding the honour after his win at Royal Lytham & St Annes.

It will also have been 28 years since an Englishman last lifted the Claret Jug when Nick Faldo claimed his third Open title at Muirfield in 1992.

However, Fleetwood has gone from strength to strength in his last three Championships, following up a T27 finish at Royal Birkdale with a T12 at Carnoustie before coming second at Portrush.

And while his challenge at The 148th Open ultimately fell agonisingly short, the Southport native appears a prime candidate to end the long wait for an English winner next year.

He will not be the only man determined to make history for England at St George’s, though, with Lee Westwood, Danny Willett and Justin Rose all displaying their credentials at Portrush.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy will also be eyeing more major glory after the 2014 Champion Golfer won the Tour Championship for a second time to secure the FedEx Cup title.

Then there’s American heavyweights such as three-time Open Champion Tiger Woods and world number one Brooks Koepka, who will cross the pond in search of Claret Jug glory.

So with all the components in place for another thrilling week of golf at St George’s, make sure you don’t miss out on the drama of The 149th Open and book your ticket today.

Tickets for The 149th Open, being held at Royal St George’s Golf Club from 12-19 July 2020, are available at www.TheOpen.com/tickets2020