CAMERON Smith joined a small but elite group of Aussies to win the British Open Championship when he rode a red-hot putter to victory to win the 150thBritish Open at the Home of Golf St Andrews.
Smith gave Irish hero Rory McIlroy and young Norwegian Victor Hovland a start and a beating as he careered around the back-nine at the Old Course with five successive birdies to surge to the front before holding off a strong-finishing Cameron Young, finishing at 20-under par to win by a shot.
McIlroy had one last bid to make it a playoff at the last hole if he could hole a difficult chip for eagle but it wasn’t to be as he made a par to finish solo third.
Smith became only the fifth Australian behind Peter Thomson, Kel Nagle, Ian Baker-Finch and Greg Norman to win golf’s oldest event.
At just 28 years of age, Smith shot a final-round 64 with a stunning back nine of 30 to secure his first-ever major … and a special one at the home of golf, St Andrews.
His eight-under effort was the lowest final round to ever win The Open at St Andrews, he also eclipsed Tiger Woods’ record of 19-under from 2000 for the best winning score at the Old Course by one shot and equalled Henrik Stenson’s all-time scoring record to par – at Royal Troon in 2016 – in an Open.
Smith’s win was set up by a run of five straight birdies from the 10th to the 14th as the golfing gods smiled on him and the putts began to drop.