Cameron Smith of Australia was able to win his first major championship by one stroke in the 150th British Open, which was held at St. Andrews. Smith shot a final round score of 64 to win by that margin.
Smith started the day four strokes behind the lead, but his eight-under-par final round boosted him to 20-under for the tournament and enabled him to finish a shot ahead of Cameron Young of the United States. A dissatisfied Rory McIlroy finished in third place, another shot behind Young and Smith.
Smith, who is just 28 years old, is the first golfer from his country to win the British Open since Greg Norman won his second Claret Jug at Royal St. George’s in 1993. Norman won the tournament at Royal St. George’s.
But the 150th British Open would come down to subtle touch, not overpowering force, and while McIlroy did not choke away his opportunity to create history, he did not exactly grasp the big moment by the lapels and shake it for all that it was worth either. Smith, an Australian with a wispy moustache and mullet, has a retro air. Even though blazers and ties are the rule at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, Smith still fit right in at the Old Course. Despite the pressure that comes with trying to win one’s first major championship, Smith holed birdie after birdie after birdie after birdie after birdie on the back nine.
Smith, who is 28 years old and from from Brisbane in the state of Queensland, would go on to score a total of eight birdies on Sunday, playing a fantastic, bogey-free final round of 64 that placed him at 20 under par and won him a win by one stroke over the American Cameron Young. After shooting a 70 on the last day of competition and generating par after par but no exciting play on the back nine, McIlroy ended in third place, one shot behind the winner.
The victory was also, at first glance, a reaffirming moment for the traditional tours in their increasingly contentious rivalry with the breakaway, Saudi-backed LIV Golf series. This series has used big checks and lighter workloads to lure major stars such as Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, and Dustin Johnson. All of these players have since been barred from competing on the PGA Tour but, for the time being, are still able to play in
Woods, who was in the height of his career at the time, won by a margin of eight shots, making the final round a procession. However, Smith ultimately prevailed in the end. After the first two rounds of the tournament, he was in the lead, but on Saturday he shot a one-over 73 and fell four shots behind the leader. During that round, he made a double bogey on the par-4 13th when he attempted an ill-advised second shot from the edge of a bunker. This round caused him to fall four shots behind the leader.
Smith had to rebound from a wobbly second shot at the notorious Road Hole, which is the par-4 17th hole and played more difficult than any other hole on the course this year. In order to win, Smith needed to do so. However, Smith made a brilliantly weighted putt uphill from off the green, which resulted in him having a putt to save par from a distance of ten feet. He was successful and proceeded to the 18th hole, where Young, his playing companion, completed the hole with an eagle. This placed Young in a short tie for the lead with Smith, who was also playing at 19 under.
McIlroy had one more opportunity to force a playoff by making an eagle on the 18th hole, which Young had just shown could be driven. But McIlroy’s tee shot, much like the rest of his round, came up short, and after he failed to hole his second shot, Smith was crowned the winner of the British Open, and his name was quickly inscribed on the claret jug as the winner.