After a strong run during golf‘s major championship season, Cameron Smith finally broke through. The 28-year-old from Australia had the round of a lifetime on Sunday, fending off Rory McIlroy, Cameron Young and others to claim the 150th Open Championship.
Smith shot an 8-under-par 64 at St. Andrews in the final round on Sunday to finish -20 for the tournament. He edged out Young by a stroke (-19) and McIlroy by two shots (-18) to win his first major.
Holding a one-stroke leading heading into the 18th hole, Smith putted his second shot on the par 4 within inches of the cup. He birdied the hole to give himself a two-shot advantage on McIlroy, who needed an eagle on the final hole to force a playoff.
Young eagled the final hole to put his total at 19-under-par for the tournament. That put a little more pressure on Smith to knock in the “gimme” putt, but nothing wavered the six-time PGA Tour winner.
Smith had been knocking on the door of a major championship victory most of the season. He finished tied for third place in The Masters and tied for 13th in the PGA Championship. He missed the cut for the U.S. Open.
Smith claims his first major championship at the most historic course in golf. He also did it by shooting an impressive 6-under-par 30 on the final nine holes.
Yeah, this is one Smith will remember for a long, long time.
Rory McIlroy Falls Short Again
Golf fans across the world were excited to see Cameron Smith claim his first major championship in professional golf. And to do so against one of the game’s top players — Rory McIlroy — is an even more impressive feat.
Despite the thrill for Smith, there’s some disappointment that McIlroy couldn’t close the door on another Open Championship win. Especially after entering the final round tied with Viktor Hovland for the lead (-16).
McIlroy shot a 2-under-par 70 to finish at -18 for the tournament. He will finish in the top-eight of every major championship in 2022 without a victory. The 33-year-old finished second at The Masters, eighth at the PGA Championship, fifth at the U.S. Open and third at the Open Championship.
McIlroy has won four major championships in his career but hasn’t claimed one since 2014 — winning the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club. His lengthy drought will extend into 2023.