Cameron Smith

Brilliant Cameron Smith wins Open as Rory McIlroy’s major drought goes on

Australia’s Cameron Smith produced an astonishing final round to capture the 150th Open Championship and gave Rory McIlroy another great loss.

McIlroy took a two-shot lead in the middle of the final round at St Andrews and carded a bogey-free finish 70, but it was not enough to end his eight-year drought in the game’s biggest tournament.

Smith, who had taken half the lead before falling four on pace with a third round 73, fired eight birdies – including five consecutive birdies from the 10th – to card his second 64 of the week and par 20 under, Best of 19 under the Old Course set by Tiger Woods in 2000, beating the previous one.

American Cameron Young made a brilliant eagle in his closing 65 on the 18th to force Smith to pierce the hole by two feet for his final birdie, to force McIlroy to a four-hole play-off on his own. Eagle was required.

However, the 33-year-old was unable to create a moment of magic and had to settle for a draw, which meant Smith could celebrate an extraordinary victory at Home of Golf.

“I think winning an Open championship in itself will probably be the highlight of a golfer in his career. To do that around St. Andrews, I think it is incredible,” said the 28-year-old from Brisbane.

“This place is great. I love the golf course. I love the city.”

Smith, who was runner-up at the 2020 Masters and third in April, said: “I’ve definitely kicked myself twice over the years.

“It was great to do it the way I did today, come back and really pressurize, stop the put. it was awesome.”

Cameron Smith

Australia’s Cameron Smith waits on the 13th tee during the fourth day of the Open at the Old Course, St Andrews (David Davis/PA)

With McIlroy and Ryder Cup teammate Victor Hovland clearing four shots of the chasing pack after a third-round match of 66, Hovland stumbled first as he took fourth from long range.

A foul drive meant Howland was unable to reach the fifth out of two, but McIlroy easily found the putting surface with a giant iron shot to move two forward for his first birdie of the day. put two.

Smith, who covered the front nine on 34, briefly closed the 10th and 11th birdies to one of McIlroy’s, only for the Northern Irishman to respond quickly.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy looks sad on the 18th during the fourth day of The Open at the Old Course, St Andrews (Richard Sellers/PA)

Although he had run the green on the 10th, McIlroy was close to the flag on the eighth on the largely shared green, but calmly two-putted from 125 feet.

Smith made three consecutive birdies after driving the green on par-four 12th, and when he also holed 13 from 18 feet, McIlroy again company to the top of the leaderboard.

An inspired Smith took an outright lead on the 14th par-five with a two-for-two from behind the green, extending his birdie streak to five, something that proved to be in the group behind McIlroy.

Smith appeared to be in danger of falling victim to the infamous 17th when his approach shortened and made his way to the flag blocked by the Road Hole bunker, but the world number six calmly passed 12 feet and made a significant cross. holed up for.

McIlroy on 17th was unable to convert his long birdie putt as Smith set up a tap-in birdie from short on the 18th green, before partner Young holed out 15 feet for an eagle.

Smith calmly converted his birdie putt and saw that McIlroy was unable to reject him and claimed an overdue fifth major.

McIlroy won the 2014 Open at the Royal Liverpool, but playing football with an ankle injury meant he was unable to try to retain the Claret Jug at St Andrews the following year.

The 33-year-old admitted this week, so he felt like the title defense he never had and enjoyed a perfect start with a 66, the same score as he began his wire-to-wire victory at Hoylek. To shoot.

This continued a welcome trend of good starts for the Northern Irishman, whose 73 opening at April’s Masters meant he passed a combined 35 overs in the first round of the Majors since his last win at the 2014 US PGA was.

He has since started with 65 at the US PGA and 67 at the US Open, but all he knew was failing to convert them into overdue victories, a third round loss of 74 at Southern Hills and a 73 at Brookline. The platform proved to be equally expensive.

This time the controversy didn’t subside for McIlroy, but he had no answer for Smith’s incredible performance, which adds a major title to his Players Championship win earlier this year.

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy in 18th place after finishing his round during the fourth day of The Open at the Old Course, St Andrews (David Davis/PA)

A compassionate McIlroy said: “This week I was beaten by the better man; the 20 under par round here is really impressive, especially shooting 64 to complete it.

“I can’t be too disappointed with how this year went. I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve had in a long time. It’s just a matter of knocking on the door.

“I’ll be fine, it’s not life and death and I’ll have other chances. It’s one that I think I let slip but there will be other opportunities. The putter got a little cold today compared to the last three days.

“My (hotel) room is right in front of the big yellow leaderboard behind the 18th and I was trying to imagine my name at the top. It was on top today but won’t be tomorrow.”

Source link

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.