The Open: Cameron Smith shoots stunning 64 to beat Rory McIlroy to Claret Jug

Northern Irishman led for much of the round but Australian birdied five holes in a row to surge ahead

Australian Cameron Smith has won the 150th Open after a stunning 64 at St Andrews left McIlroy waiting another year to win that elusive fifth Major championship.

McIlroy had been leading by two shots after nine holes but Smith burst into life with five straight birdies from the 10th to lead at 19 under, one stroke ahead of McIlroy. He then birdied the 18th to post 20 under.

America’s Cameron Young eagled the last to get to 19 under after a 65, with Norway’s Viktor Hovland and England’s Tommy Fleetwood at 14 under.

McIlroy’s sole birdie of the front nine was on the par 5 fifth hole, where a fine iron shot made the green in two, where he two-putted for birdie. Hovland fell back on the 4th hole when he three-putted from 80 feet. He also birdied the 10th hole and is two under for the day, but missed too many birdie chances in the face of fast-finishing Smith. He finished third after a two-under-par 70.


Asked how he felt after the round, McIlroy said: “It’s just disappointment I guess, I had a great opportunity today to add to that Major tally. Didn’t feel I did many things wrong, but the putter went cold on me there pretty much throughout the round.

“I did what I wanted to do, it was a controlled round of golf, I didn’t take advantage of some of the holes I had been taking advantage of this week. Both Camerons, especially Cameron Smith went on that run in the back nine, I really had to dig deep to make some birdies but I just couldn’t.

“I was just beaten by the better player this week, to shoot 64 in the final round at St Andrews is a hell of a showing.”

McIlroy had been aiming to become Champion Golfer of the Year for the second time and win his fifth Major title.


Cameron Smith -20

Cameron Young -19

Rory McIlroy -18

Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland -14

Brian Harman, Dustin Johnson -13

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times