Rory McIlroy

Cameron Smith Holds Off McIlroy, Young to Win Open Championship

This is the first Majors championship victory for the 28-year-old Australian

Cameron Smith
USA Today

Cameron Smith finally captured an elusive victory, holding off Cameron Young and Rory McIlroy down the stretch on Sunday to win the Open Championship on St Andrews Old Course.

Smith put on a masterful show, birdying eight of the final 18 shots 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 composed and stepped up to sink a birdie that would go on to become the winning putt. 

Smith is the fifth Australian to house the Claret Jug. His previous best finishes in major tournaments included a tie for second at the 2020 Masters, tie for fourth at the 2015 U.S. Open and a tie for 13th at the PGA Championship this past year. 

Young, McIlroy and Smith established themselves earlier, occupying the top-three spots in that order at the end of the first round. Smith then recorded a 64 to take the lead and set a record half-way score heading into the weekend. 

Smith and Young both faltered in the third round, dropping to 12-under, while McIlroy and Viktor Hovland of Norway moved into a tie for first at 16-under. Hovland, 24, struggled down the stretch, bogeying three times and slipping to 5th place behind Tommy Fleetwood. This left the race for the Claret Jug down to the original three.

Young was inconsistent, with a number of bogeys and birdies throughout the final round, but managed to pull off enough good shots to move into second place.

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