The Open: Cameron Smith wins first major after incredible finish

In his debut competition, the 28-year-old knocked out five birdies in a row, breaking through nine defenders. old coursehitting an eight to 64 to playmate Cameron Young with a 20-under-par hit.

Starting the day four shots ahead of Smith, Rory McIlroy finished two shots behind in third place after hitting 70 without a god.

It spelled grief for the Northern Irishman, who, hoping to end an eight-year severe drought, saw a second Claret Jug victory slip through his fingers after a day of missed opportunities.

Sharing the lead with Viktor Hovland at the top after pulsing saturday duel, McIlroy hoped he would finally win his fifth Major after outscoring the Norwegian on the fifth hole, who hit two over 74s to finish fourth. Englishman Tommy Fleetwood joined the 24-year-old under 14 with an impressive 67 shots.

However, while the 33-year-old made only one birdie afterward, ahead of Smith, having already doubled that count with his fifth hole, broke through the back nine with a run of five birdies before adding another on the 18th.

Just moments ago, Young had exhausted a dramatic final eagle, the eighth and final birdie of the round spared the Aussie from the playoffs, his win secured after McIlroy failed to muster the speculative eagle chip needed for the tie.

Smith hits his second shot on the second hole.

The return of the child

Overcome with emotion and almost unable to utter a word during the trophy presentation at 18th Court, Smith began his press conference simply welcoming the opportunity to breathe again.

“Winning the Open Championship in itself is likely to be the highlight of a golfer’s career,” Smith told reporters.

“Doing this around St. Andrews is incredible. This place is so cool. I like the golf course. I love this town”.

With this triumph, Smith became the first Australian to lift a Claret Jug in nearly 30 years since Greg Norman won at Royal St George’s in 1993. Its four-stroke overhaul was another historic milestone, coinciding with the biggest comeback win at St. Andrews, last achieved by John Daly in 1995.

This capped off a remarkable struggle for Smith on the final day, whose disappointing 73-shot round on Saturday spoiled the opening 67 and a brilliant 64 that kept him in the lead going into the weekend.

However, Smith doesn’t regret giving himself extra work, but says it’s “good” that he fell behind before the big day.

“It’s very easy to go on the defensive and keep hitting 60-70 feet and you can parse all day, but you’re not going to do birdies,” he said.

“I think it’s good that I’m definitely behind. I think my thinking would have been a little different, especially in that nine if I had been ahead.”

“This is neither life nor death”

Third place marks a repeat of McIlroy’s finish in St. Louis. Andrews in 2013. In his 13th Open Championship, the Northern Irishman made no secret of his “dream” to win at the “home of golf” to add to his claret pitcher lifted at Royal Liverpool in 2014.

He arrived at the Old Course on a wave of local support as well as fit, finishing second at the Masters and in the top eight at two other Majors this season.

This form was well showcased in McIlroy’s brilliant teeing and approach play throughout the day, but the 21-time PGA Tour winner ultimately fell short on his short play as he failed to land one hit from the field throughout final round. .

McIlroy is approaching the fourth hole.

“I’m sorry about the few hits I missed, but overall it was a good week,” McIlroy told reporters.

“I play one of the best golf courses I have played in a long time, so you just have to keep knocking on the door and eventually it will open.

“After all, this is neither life nor death. I will have other chances to win the Open Championship and other chances to win big tournaments. I feel like I missed this chance, but there will be other opportunities. “

After talking with Hovland throughout their pulsing saturday battleMcIlroy was the center of attention throughout the decider round amid the crowd’s often deafening roar for the local fan favorite.
McIlroy hits an ancient stone and breaks the arm of a PGA Tour employee in an eventful first open round

“I certainly appreciated the encouragement and it was incredible to be cheered on all 72 holes, but I didn’t let it put more pressure on me,” he said.

“I try to make it for myself at the end of the day. Yes, it’s great to get support, but the happiest person in the world if I won that Claret Jug would be me.”

Meanwhile, Hovland was reflecting on an “anti-climate” close to what was an extremely impressive performance in just his second public appearance. After a flawless card on Saturday, the 24-year-old missed three times – and only once – in the final round.

Despite only turning pro in 2019, the Norwegian has been at home all week vying for the top spot on the leaderboard. Despite failing to maintain the pace needed to fulfill his dream of a first Major, fourth place was his best finish at a Major to date, after finishing 12th at last year’s tournament and the 2019 US Open.

“I expected to hold out there a little longer,” Hovland told reporters.

“Just a little disappointed that I didn’t have it today, but it was a great experience today and obviously yesterday. The whole week has been a good learning experience and I feel like it will make me feel better.”