Cameron Smith surges to win British Open at St. Andrews
Cameron Smith surged to victory at St. Andrews on Sunday, snatching The 150th Open Championship from home favorite Rory McIlroy.
By the numbers: Smith shot a brilliant, bogey-free closing round of 64 that included five straight birdies on the back nine to finish at 20-under, beating out rookie Cameron Young (-19) and McIlroy (-18).
- Smith also shot a 64 on Friday, making him the first player in history with multiple rounds of eight-under in a single major championship.
- What a year for the Aussie, who broke the 72-hole scoring record in January, won the Players Championship in March, and now this.
The other side: It was heartbreak for McIlroy, who couldn't get the putter going on Sunday (18 two-putts). He's now finished in the top 10 in 17 majors since 2015, more than anyone else on Tour. But he hasn't won any.
- He's the first player in major championship history to enter a final round with the lead, hit every green in regulation and not win.
- McIlroy, as expected, handled the loss with class: "I got beaten by the better player this week. To go out and shoot 64 to win an Open Championship at St. Andrews is a hell of a showing. Hats off to Cam."
The big picture: In sports, we typically talk about the winners, and Smith deserves all the praise. But sometimes, the story is the loser who came up just short. That's the case here with McIlroy, who gave the crowd someone to rally behind all weekend.
"Alas, this was not the week for Rory to end a major championship drought that will now stretch to its ninth year come 2023. But it was the week for a different kind of coronation."
"It is now obvious, if it wasn't already, that he is the closest thing golf has to a standard-bearer. ... In losing the Open Championship, he cemented himself as golf's new people's champion."
— Alex Kirschner, Slate