scheduled tribe. ANDREWES, Scotland ( Associated Press) – Cameron Smith made history at the Old Course in St Andrews on Sunday as the Australian defeated Rory McIlroy to clinch his first major title at the British Open.
The stage was set for McIlroy to end his drought in big events and wrap up a weeklong celebration in the birthplace of golf by hosting the 150th edition of the tournament.
Instead, Smith stole the limelight by hitting five consecutive birdies moving from the back nine and showing tremendous balance of late.
His card of 64 strokes, 8 under par, was the lowest score by a champion in 30 times at the world’s oldest golf tournament at St Andrews.
Smith overtook Cameron Young, who struck an eagle from 15 feet on the final hole and briefly tied for the lead.
It didn’t kill him, and neither did everything McIlroy tried to do.
McIlroy was quickly vague about his put. He couldn’t get close enough to the last few holes. His best chance came when he attempted a birdie from 15 feet on the 17th, narrowly surviving by going wide to the left.
Smith, who saved the draw with a 10-foot putt in 17th, was ahead of the 18th green to hit the punt. From 80 feet, he dropped the ball in an unbeatable position and received a birdie that left him with a cumulative 268 strokes, 20 under par.
Smith emulated the leading par record, most recently set by Dustin Johnson at the 2020 edition of the Masters, held in November.
McIlroy needed an eagle to match him and his chip fell short. He failed to attempt a birdie and finished with a 70 which placed him third.
Smith is the first Australian since Kyle Nagle in 1960 to win at St Andrews, when he defeated American Arnold Palmer.