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The 150th Open: Cameron Smith says maiden major success at St Andrews will be highlight of his career

“To win an Open Championship in itself is probably going to be a golfer’s highlight in their career. To do it around St Andrews, I think is just unbelievable,” says Cameron Smith after winning The 150th Open; Australian refuses to deny LIV Golf rumours after major win

Last Updated: 17/07/22 9:28pm



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Cameron Smith joins Tim Barter at the Sky Cart to analyse his sensational final round of 64 which earned him his maiden major title at St Andrews

Cameron Smith joins Tim Barter at the Sky Cart to analyse his sensational final round of 64 which earned him his maiden major title at St Andrews

Cameron Smith admitted he will struggle to better the feeling of winning The 150th Open at St Andrews after claiming a stunning success on the Old Course.

The 28-year-old Australian, who had led at the halfway stage, stormed back to the top of the leaderboard with an eight-under 64 to finish on 20 under and one ahead of Cameron Young, with Rory McIlroy a further shot back in third.

Smith made his move with five successive birdies from the 10th and then held his nerve over the closing holes as he claimed his maiden major victory.

“To win an Open Championship in itself is probably going to be a golfer’s highlight in their career. To do it around St Andrews, I think is just unbelievable,” he said.

“This place is so cool. I love the golf course. I love the town.

“These last four or five holes aren’t easy around here, especially with the wind up off the left. I just stuck to what I was doing and I’m just really proud of how I kind of knuckled down today and managed to get it done.”

An emotional Smith says it was 'unreal' to get his hands on the Claret Jug

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An emotional Smith says it was ‘unreal’ to get his hands on the Claret Jug

An emotional Smith says it was ‘unreal’ to get his hands on the Claret Jug

Smith started the final round four shots behind McIlroy and Viktor Hovland but felt being away from the main spotlight had been to his benefit.

He said: “I sometimes think that being behind on certain golf courses and in certain situations is maybe a good thing. I think it’s very easy to get defensive out there and keep hitting it to 60, 70 feet, and you can make pars all day, but you’re not going to make birdies.

“I think it was a good thing that I was definitely behind. I think my mindset would have been a touch different coming in, especially on that back nine, if I was ahead.

Smith recorded five successive birdies to steal the lead from Rory McIlroy in the final round

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Smith recorded five successive birdies to steal the lead from Rory McIlroy in the final round

Smith recorded five successive birdies to steal the lead from Rory McIlroy in the final round

“I think my second shot into 13 was really when I thought that we can win this thing. I think I had three birdies in a row before that, and then to hit that shot in there, or the two shots, the drive and the second shot, were two of the best all week. For that to go in, I think, that was it for me.”

Smith had had a few near-misses in majors before finally crossing the line thanks to his eighth birdie of the day at the 18th, but he identified his victory in The Players Championship earlier this year as a turning point for him.

Smith produced three stunning shots on the 18th hole at St Andrews to win the 150th Open Championship

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Smith produced three stunning shots on the 18th hole at St Andrews to win the 150th Open Championship

Smith produced three stunning shots on the 18th hole at St Andrews to win the 150th Open Championship

“I don’t think I’ve changed a lot mentally,” he added. “I think sometimes you get away from what you’re doing, and it’s just a thing of just getting back to what you know and what you know works.

“I’ve definitely been on that track a few times in my career. But I think it’s just honestly belief. The Players at the start of the year, with the best field in golf, to go away with the win was a really big confidence booster. I knew it wasn’t going to be too long before I got one of these. I’ve knocked on the door, I think, maybe one too many times now. So it’s nice to get it done.”

Smith savours his St Andrews success

Smith savours his St Andrews success

Smith refuses to dismiss LIV Golf rumours

Smith has been linked with a switch to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series in recent weeks and was asked about the rumours at his press conference at St Andrews.

He was unhappy about the question, but there was no direct denial of the speculation.

“I just won The Open, and you’re asking about that. I think that’s pretty not that good,” he said.

Smith, who is now exempt in all four majors until 2027, added when asked again if he was interested: “I don’t know, mate. My team around me worries about all that stuff. I’m here to win golf tournaments.”

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