The Open: Smith claims maiden major with stunning 64 as McIlroy and Young miss out

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Cameron Smith surged to victory at The Open with a stunning final-round 64, edging out Rory McIlroy and Cameron Young to claim his first major.

The Australian started Sunday's round four shots back from leading duo McIlroy and Viktor Hovland but kept his cool to triumph over Young by one stroke on a thrilling day at St Andrews, finishing on 20 under.

He extinguished McIlroy's hopes of ending an eight-year major drought at the 150th edition of golf's oldest major, where record crowds were treated to a memorable tournament, even if they were denied the champion the majority wanted to see lift the Claret Jug.

McIlroy's closing 70, during which he passed up a series of birdie chances, was only enough for third spot as Young eagled the last to take second and Hovland faded to finish six shots off the pace, alongside Tommy Fleetwood.

The focus initially was firmly on the final pairing, who sat on a four-shot advantage, and it was Hovland who blinked first, three-putting for a bogey five on the fourth and McIlroy's lead was two when he birdied the fifth.

But as Hovland stalled, it was Smith who led the charge of the chasing pack, making gains in five consecutive holes after the turn to move to the summit on 19 under.

He showed nerves of steel to hole a tricky putt for par on the 17th and then made a birdie at the last after Young had found the hole for an eagle.

That left McIlroy needing a two at the par-four last to force a play-off as fans poured onto the 18th fairway at the home of golf, but he could only manage a par as a new major champion was crowned.

SHOT OF THE DAY

In a round consisting of eight birdies, it was a par-saving putt that highlighted the strength of will shown by Smith on Sunday.

The 36-hole leader shot a scruffy 73 on Saturday, with his hopes of victory seemingly going up in smoke after such a promising start.

Having roared back, the only real sign of trouble in his last round came at the 17th, where he was short of the green in two and left himself a 12-foot putt for a for which he duly sunk to maintain the initiative.

CHIPPING IN

Adam Scott: "[Smith] is tough, and he's owned his game, I think, quickly. He's learned how to play golf very well very quickly. I think his mind is a big asset, as is his putter."

Ian Poulter: "Finishing 62nd is not quite what you want, is it? So another Open slides by."

Xander Schauffele: "It's a bit of a bummer to sort of finish the week off without being in any sort of contention."

A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME

- Smith's score tied the record for the lowest in relation to par at The Open, equalling Henrik Stenson's 20 under from 2016.

- That 20-under 268 is the lowest score in an Open at St Andrews, surpassing Tiger Woods' 269 back in 2000.

- Smith matched the 64 Greg Norman shot to win The Open at Sandwich in 1993.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting