Cameron Smith overcame a four-stroke deficit entering the final round of the British Open to win his first major at St. Andrews in Scotland on Sunday. The 28-year-old Australian finished -20 with a score of 64 in the final round Sunday to earn the victory at the 150th Open Championship, edging out Ireland’s Rory McIlroy (-18), who was the favorite entering the tournament.
Smith entered Sunday four strokes behind leaders McIlroy and Victor Hovland, who ultimately finished tied for fourth at -14, but managed to sink five birdies in a row on the back nine to secure the victory. Smith’s win also made him the first Australian to win the British Open since Greg Norman in 1993 and the first Australian man to win any major since Jason Day won the PGA Championship in 2015. Smith said as he hoisted the trophy: “All the hard work we’ve done the last couple years is really starting to pay off. And this one definitely makes it worth it.”
Despite the loss, the 33-year-old McIlroy’s finish on Sunday made him the only player in 2022 to finish in the top 10 in each major championship. Said McIlroy: “I knew that I could do it. I know this golf course. I play well here. The last two Opens I’ve played here, I’ve finished third both times. It’s coming. I think just this whole major season, second at Augusta, third here, fifth at the U.S. Open, eighth at the PGA — I’m knocking on the door. I just need to stay patient, keep knocking on the door and eventually one will open for me again.”
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