The British Open victory over Rory McIlroy by Australian Cameron Smith propelled him to his maiden major championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews on Sunday.
The scenario was perfect for McIlroy to win the 150th Open and finish a week of festivities at the home of golf by snapping an eight-year majors winless streak.
Instead, Smith stole the show by starting the back nine with five straight birdies and adding additional crucial strokes at the finish. His final round score of 8 under par was the lowest by a champion in the 30-time history of the oldest tournament in golf held at St. Andrews.
Cameron Young, who made a 15-foot birdie putt on the last hole to temporarily tie for the lead, finished second to Smith by one stroke.
Smith’s tee shot landed at the front of the 18th green, where he had made a 10-foot putt to save par on the 17th. His movement up the slope and toward the cup from a distance of 80 feet was almost flawless, allowing him to finish at 20-under 268 with a tap-in birdie. Dustin Johnson last achieved the major championship record of par in the November 2020 Masters, which Smith matched.
McIlroy’s chip through the Valley of Sin had no chance because he needed an eagle to tie him up. He finished third with a 70 after missing the birdie.
Since Kel Nagle in 1960, Smith is the only Australian to triumph at St. Andrews.