Cameron Smith storms past Rory McIlroy to win The Open

Smith became the first Australian to hoist the Claret Jug since Greg Norman in 1993

By Reuters

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Australia's Cameron Smith during the final round. (Reuters)
Australia's Cameron Smith during the final round. (Reuters)

Published: Sun 17 Jul 2022, 11:55 PM

Cameron Smith dedicated his first major triumph at the British Open to the crowd of Australian fans who roared him to victory at St Andrews.

The world number six produced a stunning final round of 64 to match the Open record of 20-under-par.

Smith needed every stroke as his playing partner Cameron Young finished just one shot back, while crowd favourite Rory McIlroy was third on 18-under.

“I had a lot of support out there, especially the Aussie guys, you guys really kept me going out there,” said Smith as he was presented with the Claret Jug.

“It seemed like there was a lot of you guys out there, you kept me plugging away so this one is for Aus!”

Smith staged one of the greatest back-nine charges ever witnessed at a major championship, coming from four shots behind to win the 150th British Open on Sunday as McIlroy’s major drought continued.

Smith, winner of golf’s unofficial fifth major, The Players Championship, earlier this year, carded a sensational final round eight-under 64 that included a spectacular run of five consecutive birdies from the turn to become the first Australian to hoist the Claret Jug since Greg Norman in 1993.

The 28-year-old Queenslander also became the first Australian man to claim one of golf’s four majors since Jason Day’s victory at the 2015 PGA Championship.

Smith’s winning total of 20-under 268 was one better than playing partner Young, who eagled the last for a 65 to finish alone in second while McIlroy, the betting favourite coming into St Andrews, faltered at the finish to settle for third.

McIlroy started the final round tied for the lead with Viktor Hovland four strokes clear of the pack and an end to his eight-year major drought looked in sight as he moved two shots ahead alone in first.

The Northern Irishman’s conservative game plan had appeared to work to perfection as he carded an error free two-under 70.

But in the end fortune favoured the brave as Smith’s go-for-broke approach ended with him being crowned Champion Golfer of the Year.

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