The Open day four: Cameron Smith wins first major as Rory McIlroy falls short
Australia’s Cameron Smith produced a stunning final round to capture the 150th Open Championship and inflict more major misery on a shell-shocked Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy held a two-shot lead midway through the final round at St Andrews and carded a bogey-free closing 70, but that was not enough to end his eight-year drought in the game’s biggest tournaments.
Smith, who held the halfway lead before falling four off the pace with a third-round 73, fired eight birdies – including five in a row from the 10th – to card his second 64 of the week and finish 20 under par, beating the previous best of 19 under on the Old Course set by Tiger Woods in 2000.
Shot of the day
Smith’s one-stroke victory owed as much to his remarkable par save on the 17th as it did to his putting display. The Australian’s approach to the Road Hole, the most difficult on the course for the last three days, finished behind the infamous bunker. He had no way of going for the flag so putted up around the bowl of the trap to about eight feet and holed for a four. A dropped shot there would have opened the door for the chasing Rory McIlroy.
Round of the day
Cameron Smith – 64
Smith, starting four shots back, crucially did not drop a shot all day. After just two birdies on the front nine he sprang to life after the turn with a remarkable run of five successive gains – the longest for a player in the final round of the Open in 21 years – which turned the tide in his favour. A birdie at the last realistically took McIlroy’s chances of forcing a play-off out of the Northern Irishman’s hands.
Tweet of the day
Statistic of the day
Since records began, McIlroy is the only player to hold the 54-hole lead at a major, hit every green in regulation in the final round and not win.
The 495-yard par-four 17th played as the toughest hole for the third day running, yielding four birdies, with 27 bogeys and 13 double bogeys or worse, resulting in a scoring average of 4.37.
The driveable 570-yard par-five fifth. There were six eagles, 45 birdies and just seven bogeys, for a scoring average of 3.24.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Lucas Glover edges past Patrick Cantlay to claim back-to-back Tour wins
Glover, 43, ultimately claimed victory with a par on the 18th hole playoff after Cantlay found water off the tee.
Lilia Vu wins second major as Charley Hull comes up short despite stunning eagle
American Vu added the Women’s Open title to her Chevron Championship.
Lucas Glover holds onto lead in Memphis with Tommy Fleetwood two strokes behind
Glover said it was a scrappy day but he got ‘a lot out of’ what he had.
Charley Hull shares lead with Lilia Vu heading into final day of Women’s Open
The pair are nine under for the tournament.
On This Day in 2007 – Tiger Woods claims 13th major with victory in Oklahoma
The world number one successfully defended his US PGA Championship title.
Ally Ewing out to emulate Brian Harman with Open win
The pair share their southern roots, passion for hunting and college teams named the Bulldogs.
Ally Ewing storms clear during second round of AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath
At 10 under par Ewing enjoyed a five-shot lead over compatriot Andrea Lee and Japan’s Minami Katsu.
Jordan Spieth leads by one after first round of FedEx St Jude Championship
England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Aaron Rai are the best of the British contingent, closing out Thursday on four under par.
Rory McIlroy delighted with Tiger Woods’ role on PGA Tour’s policy board
Woods, 47, has not played since withdrawing from April’s Masters and concedes his playing opportunities will be extremely limited going forward.