Cameron Smith produced a sensational eight-under-par final round of 64 at St Andrews to overtake Rory McIlroy and hold off Cameron Young to claim the Open Championship.
The Australian, who finished the tournament on 20 under par, scored five consecutive birdies to begin his back nine but also had to resist a late charge from Young. The American holed a stunning eagle putt at the 18th to move level with the leader on 19 under par – but Smith had a tap-in for birdie to again move a shot clear.
McIlroy, aiming to win his first major since 2014 when he won the Open at Royal Liverpool golf club, shot 70 without registering a bogey but ultimately could not match Smith’s late surge, finishing third on 18 under par. The eventual champion Smith also holed a nerveless 10-foot par putt at the 17th to maintain his one-stroke lead, while McIlroy missed a birdie putt at the same hole.
Viktor Hovland, who began the day level with McIlroy on 16 under par after both shot third-round 66s, eventually finished two over par on the day and finished tied fourth with Tommy Fleetwood, who birdied the 18th to finish 14 under par.
After winning the Players Championship at Sawgrass in March, the 28-year-old Smith tied third with Shane Lowry behind the winner Scottie Scheffler at The Masters in April. McIlroy was also second at that tournament.
Ewan Murray’s report from St Andrew’s will follow
July 18, 2022 at 12:11AM Guardian sport