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Having started the final round at St Andrews a whopping four shots off overnight leaders McIlroy and Viktor Hovland, Smith produced one of the greatest final rounds in majors history to hoist the Claret Jug. Thailand's Sadom Kaewkanjana proved his mettle and finished at a fantastic T-11.
St Andrews, Scotland: Cameron Smith put together one of the great rounds in major history to become Champion Golfer of the Year at The 150th Open.
The Australian started the final day four strokes back from Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland but shot an incredible 64, which featured five birdies in a row at the beginning of the back nine and another on 18, to overhaul McIlroy and fend off Cameron Young by a stroke.
His finishing score of 20-under-par matched Henrik Stenson’s winning number from Royal Troon six years ago and is the joint-best score to par in Open history, and the lowest at St Andrews.
View the full leaderboard at https://www.theopen.com/leaderboard
Smith is also the first Australian to become Champion Golfer since Greg Norman in 1993 and in the process shot the lowest fourth round by a champion in St Andrews history, surpassing Zach Johnson’s 66 in 2015. Smith was three shots back from McIlroy at the beginning of the back nine but he switched his putter on when it mattered most, holing putts from five, 16, 11, 18 and five feet to swing the Championship his way.
But it was his par save on 17 that stood out, an ice-cold putt from 10 feet that he stroked into the bottom of the cup, and he finished with a flourish, a gorgeous putt from off the green helping to set up another birdie. Smith is the only player in the last 20 years to birdie the first five holes of the back nine in the final round of a major
He joins not only Woods, but also legends Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, and five-time Australian champion Peter Thomson, as winners of The Open at St Andrews.
FROM HOPE TO HEARTBREAK FOR RORY
Rory McIlroy admitted he was beaten by the better player in The 150th Open after seeing his dream of a second Claret Jug slip away on a dramatic Sunday at St Andrews.
On a day when McIlroy played some of the smartest golf he’s ever played, he needed more of the strut. A four-stroke lead should have been enough to hold off any competition … unless the competition is dropping five birdies in a row.
Playing controlled golf, McIlroy said, worked “until I needed to respond to what Cam [Smith] was doing out there. Coming down on 14, I knew that at that point Cam had birdied to go to 19 and I was at 18, so I knew that I needed to respond. I just couldn't find the shots or the putts to do that.”
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