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The Open day four: Cameron Smith wins first major as Rory McIlroy falls short
Smith produced a final-round 64 to lift the Claret Jug.
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
American Cameron Young made a brilliant eagle on the 18th in his closing 65 to force Smith to hole from two feet for his final birdie, leaving McIlroy needing his own eagle to force a four-hole play-off.
However, the 33-year-old was unable to produce a moment of magic and had to settle for a par that meant Smith could celebrate an extraordinary victory at the Home of Golf.
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.