Magical Putting Helps Cameron Smith to Dream British Open Triumph

17 Jul

He seemed to have played himself out of contention with a mediocre third round, and he was still seemingly a longshot halfway through Sunday’s final round. But Cameron Smith produced one of the finest back nines in major golf championship history to win the 150th British Open Championship at St. Andrews. 

The 28-year-old Australian carded a closing 64 that included a back nine of six-under 30 to overtake crowd and final day bookies’ favourite Rory McIlroy and win by one shot over playing partner Cameron Young. 

Smith carded five straight birdies from the 10th to the 14th and led by one shot coming to the final hole. After Young eagled the 18th to set the clubhouse target at 19-under, Smith cooly putted from off the green to within one metre and nervelessly sank the birdie putt.  That meant Northern Ireland’s McIroy, playing in the last pairing, needed an eagle to force a play-off, but he eventually had to settle for a par and third place. 

It was Smith’s first Grand Slam title – and the first time someone called “Cameron” had won one of men’s golf’s four majors. His eight-under 64 was the lowest final round to win the British Open at St Andrews, he beat Tiger Woods’ 2000 record of 19-under for the best winning total at the Old Course by one shot, and he equalled Henrik Stenson’s scoring record to par in a British Open (at Royal Troon in 2019)..

Smith joined Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Kel Nagle and Ian Baker-Finch as the only Australian winners of the British Open, and this was the first victory since Norman’s 1993 win at Royal St George’s.

Later, cradling the famous claret jug, Smith said, “I’m definitely going to find out how many beers fit in this thing, that’s for sure.” (“It’s pretty much exactly two,” he confirmed the next day.)

Photos supplied by R&A (Getty Images)

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