McIlroy finally got the chance to end his eight year drought in majors. This was also the culmination of a week at the 150th Open, where there was much celebration.
Smith stole the show, making five consecutive birdies to begin the back nine and more clutch moments towards the end. His final round of 8-under 64 was the lowest by a winner in the 30 times that the oldest championship in golf has been played at St. Andrews.
Smith won by 1 shot Cameron YoungTo tie the lead for ever-so-briefly, he hit a 15-foot eagle shot on the final hole.
It wasnt enough. McIlroy couldn’t even come up with anything.
McIlroy couldn’t putt early. He couldnt get it close enough late. His last chance was a 15-foot birdie attempt at the Road Hole at No. 17 and it narrowly missed to his left.
Smith, who par saved on the 17th, had a 10-foot putt and was standing at the front of 18th green with his tee shot. His pace up and down the slope to the cup was perfect from 80 feet away. He finished at 20-under 268.
Smith equaled the major championship record to par. It was last reached by Dustin JohnsonIn November 2020, the Masters will be held.
McIlroy required an eagle in order to tie him. His chip through Valley of Sin was not enough. He missed the birdie, but ended up with a 70 to finish in third place.
It was difficult to believe, even with the silver Claret Jug in ones hands.
Smith stated, All the names there, every player whos been at their best has won this championship. Its quite cool to be there. Its still not fully assimilated yet. It wont for a few more weeks. Its unreal.
Smith is the first Australian to win St. Andrews since Kelnagle in 1960, when Smith topped a rising American star named The Star . Arnold PalmerThe peoples choice.
McIlroy is that, and McIlroy was all that day. There was energy all around the Old Course, all the fans eager to celebrate McIlroys win at St. Andrews Open.
He left them with little to cheer for: two birdies, 16 Pars, and more disappointment.
McIlroy stated that the putter went cold on him. When Smith and Cameron went on that run on nine back, I had to dig deep in order to make birdies. I couldnt. I was beaten by the stronger player this week. It was a great accomplishment to shoot 64 and win the Open Championship at St. Andrews. Cam deserves all the credit.
The mullet that the 28-year old Aussie wears under the hat is a mullet. He has been growing for the past few years and now has a much greater identity: champion golfer-of-the-year — at St. Andrews, no less.
He won his third win this year — his previous victory was at the Players Championship — and moves up to No. 2 in the world behind Masters champion Scottie Scheffler.
Smith is the first Australian to win Open since 1996. Greg Norman1993 at Royal St. Georges. Norman was not asked to return this year, as there was no indication that he would. This was due to his Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series which has offered millions to attract players such as Johnson. Bryson deChambeauMajor champions who finished in Top 10.
Smith and his magical putter deserved this day.
He was 3 shots behind when he turned the corner in the final round. McIlroy was playing control golf. His only birdie, a 2-putt at 18 feet on the par-5 5th. Viktor HovlandMcIlroy was tied for first place in the final round. Despite being tied, he was never a factor. He didn’t make his first birdie on the 12th hole. He closed with a score of 74.
Open lore now includes Smiths run on the back nine.
He hit a nice pitch to 5ft for birdie on his short 10th hole. He bravely took a back pin on par-3 11th, and shot a 15-foot birdie. The next two holes were about the same length. His fifth putt in a row was from 90 feet on his par-5 14th. It was over a large mound and down the slope to tap into range.
McIlroy could not catch up. McIlroys lag putting was great, but it wasnt what he needed. Smith was his biggest obstacle, and he didnt help him.
Between him and his flag on the 17th was the Road Hole bunker. He rode his putter across the bunkers right edge, onto the green, about 10 feet away. He then poured in another putt for par to stay in front.
Young was successful in his Open debut. Young missed a 6-foot putt on the 15th with just a foot of break. He missed the wedge on the next hole. He missed his approach to the 17th hole and drove well, but he missed another birdie opportunity.
He delivered but only a 65 and a silver medal.
Smith made his final birdie and the engraver began work on the silver Claret Jug. This prize was first given to the 1873 champion at St. Andrews. Smith is a part of a lot of the history surrounding this old, gray town.