Cameron Smith finally secured an elusive victory, fending off Cameron Young and Rory McIlroy on Sunday to win the Open Championship on the St Andrews Old Course.
Smith put on a masterful display, shooting eight of the last 18 to shoot 6-under 30 on the back nine and 8-under 64 in the final round. Smith finished 20 under as the 28-year-old Australian won his first major championship.
Smith trailed on the final hole after Cameron Young recorded an eagle to take the lead. Smith remained calm and moved forward to birdie the winning putt.
Smith is the fifth Australian to host the Claret Jug. His previous best results at majors included a tie for second at the 2020 Masters, a tie for fourth at the 2015 US Open and a tie for 13th at the PGA Championship last year.
Young, McIlroy and Smith established themselves earlier, taking the top three spots in that order by the end of the first lap. Smith then shot a 64 to take the lead and set a record mid-term score going into the weekend.
Both Smith and Young faltered in the third round, dropping to 12 under, while Norway’s McIlroy and Viktor Hovland tied for first place at 16 under. Hovland, 24, struggled in the stretch, bogeying three times and slipping to 5th place behind Tommy Fleetwood. That left the race for the Claret Jug to the top three.
Young was inconsistent, with a number of bogeys and birdies throughout the final round, but managed to land enough good shots to move into second place.