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The 150th Open

The 150th Open


Story of the Championship

Cameron Smith with the Claret Jug on the balcony of The R&A Clubhouse

A landmark Championship at St Andrews culminated in a thrilling finish as Cameron Smith surged to victory in The 150th Open.

We look back on a memorable week at the home of golf.



After plenty of warm and dry weather in the lead-up to the Championship, a firm and fast Old Course greeted the competitors on day one.

With little wind to speak of, scoring was predictably low, with those out earlier in the day enjoying particularly benign conditions.

Pre-Championship favourite Rory McIlroy and Cameron Smith were among those to prosper with respective scores of 66 and 67, but the early lead went to Cameron Young, the PGA Tour rookie who came close to glory at this year’s PGA Championship.

On his Open debut, Young flew out of the blocks with five birdies on his front nine and two more at the 11th and 12th to reach seven-under-par.

Cameron Young in round one of The 150th Open

Another gain at the 18th completed a bogey-free 64, putting Young two clear of McIlroy and three clear of Smith.

The latter was joined on five-under very late in the day by Robert Dinwiddie, a qualifier playing in the penultimate group, while amateur Barclay Brown was among eight players – including world number one Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland – to begin the week with a four-under 68.


-8 Cameron Young

-6 Rory McIlroy

-5 Cameron Smith, Robert Dinwiddie

-4 Barclay Brown (a), Viktor Hovland, Dustin Johnson, Scottie Scheffler, Talor Gooch, Lee Westwood, Brad Kennedy, Kurt Kitayama


Drizzly conditions greeted the early starters on day two but the grey skies soon turned blue and the world’s best golfers once again took advantage of calm conditions at the home of golf.

It was time for another Cameron to take centre stage after Young’s opening-day heroics, as Cameron Smith charged to the top of the leaderboard at 13-under with a 64 of his own, which began with three consecutive birdies.

Smith’s putting was typically brilliant, with the highlight coming on the par-5 14th as he drained a 60-footer for eagle.

There was an early dropped shot for Young, but the American bounced back impressively to remain firmly in the mix, two shots behind Smith at 11-under following a second-round 69.

Then came McIlroy and Hovland, who each enjoyed moments to savour on the back nine as they carded 68 and 66 respectively to share third on 10-under.

McIlroy prompted raucous cheers around the 17th green, converting a 20-footer for a rare birdie on the famously challenging Road Hole, while Hovland holed his second shot at the par-4 15th for a brilliant eagle.

Fifth place at the halfway stage went to two-time major champion Dustin Johnson, who improved on his opening-day 68 by a shot, while Scheffler and Tyrrell Hatton were well placed a shot further back.

Further down the leaderboard, Collin Morikawa became the first defending Champion to miss the cut since Darren Clarke in 2012, rounds of 72 and 73 seeing the winner of The 149th Open fall two shots short of making the weekend.

Friday also marked the end of the Championship for the great Tiger Woods, whose walk down the final hole was greeted with the most of rapturous of ovations as fans paid tribute to the three-time Champion Golfer.

Tiger Woods crosses the Swilcan Bridge

Woods did not stop as he crossed the Swilcan Bridge, but he did acknowledge he was likely to have played his last competitive round at the Old Course – where he won in 2000 and 2005.

“I certainly feel that I'll be able to play more Opens, but I don't know if I'll be around when it comes back around here,” said Tiger.

“So to me it felt like this might have been my last Open here at St Andrews. And the fans, the ovation and the warmth, it was an unbelievable feeling. It got to me.”


-13 Cameron Smith

-11 Cameron Young

-10 Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland

-9 Dustin Johnson


Moving Day certainly lived up to its name as an electrifying round three brought significant changes atop the leaderboard.

The two Camerons, Smith and Young, were not at their best on their way to scores of 73 and 71, which left both men at 12-under-par heading into the final round.

Instead, it was the penultimate pairing on Saturday who secured their places in the final group on Sunday, as McIlroy and Hovland both went round in 66 to separate themselves from the field at 16-under.

A raucous atmosphere accompanied the charge of the two Europeans, with McIlroy receiving predictably strong support from fans desperate to see the Northern Irishman reclaim the Claret Jug.

When the Champion Golfer of 2014 holed a bunker shot for eagle on the 10th hole, the roars were deafening and it is to Hovland’s credit that he stuck with McIlroy thereafter to retain a share of the lead.

Hovland prompted laughter when, in a post-round interview, he said: "I was thinking what the hell am I doing here? I mean, it's pretty crazy from where I grew up. Just to be here is very special, but to have a chance to win one is -- yeah, I have to pinch myself, but that doesn't mean I'm going to hold back."

Hovland had initially hit the front with four birdies in succession from the third and the Norwegian appeared totally at ease in McIlroy’s company as the pair opened up a healthy advantage over everyone else.

Si-woo Kim and Scheffler ended the day in fifth place on 11-under, a shot behind Smith and Young, while Shane Lowry lit up the third day with back-to-back chip-ins for eagle at the ninth and 10th, before slipping back to seven-under.


-16 Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland

-12 Cameron Smith, Cameron Young

-11 Scottie Scheffler, Si-woo Kim

-10 Dustin Johnson


For nine holes on Sunday, everything looked to be going pretty much to plan for McIlroy.

He was only able to find one birdie over the first nine holes, after hitting the par-five fifth in two, but with playing partner Hovland struggling and little emerging in the way of a charge from behind, McIlroy remained firmly in control of his own destiny.

All that would swiftly change, though, as Smith produced one of the great back nines in Open history to secure the Claret Jug in style.

Five successive birdies from the 10th took Smith from three behind to one ahead – with McIlroy also birdieing the 10th – and Smith then held his nerve superbly down the closing stretch.

Pars at the 15th and 16th were followed by a stunning four at the 17th, where Smith found himself in an awkward position behind the Road Hole Bunker in two, but calmly putted to 12 feet before finding the very centre of the cup with his next stroke.

The leader’s skill with the putter was also in evidence at the final hole as he took two from just off the front edge of the green to register a sixth back-nine birdie and come home in 30 for a round of 64.

That closing birdie proved crucial, with playing partner Young sensationally eagling the last following a superb drive to around 20 feet.

Young’s two on 18 completed a superb 65 and lifted him to 19-under, but Smith was one better off and had matched the record Open score to par achieved by Henrik Stenson at Royal Troon in 2016.

Both Camerons ultimately got the better of McIlroy, who hit every green in regulation or better in his final round but could only find those two birdies at five and 10 as he closed with a 70 for an 18-under aggregate. An eagle from McIlroy at the last would have forced a play-off, but he was unable to chip in and had to settle for a par that left him one behind Young.

Hovland’s 74 sent him back to 14-under, a total matched by 2019 runner-up Tommy Fleetwood thanks to the Englishman’s closing 67.

There were also impressive final-day performances from Brian Harman (66), Bryson DeChambeau (66), Sadom Kaewkanjana (65) and Abraham Ancer (65) as they moved up the leaderboard, while Sam Burns matched Smith’s 64 to record the joint-best round of the Championship.

The Silver Medal went to Italy’s Filippo Celli, who finished tied-47th on five-under-par. Celli was one of four amateurs to make the cut, along with Aaron Jarvis (+1), Barclay Brown (+2) and Sam Bairstow (+4).


-20 Cameron Smith

-19 Cameron Young

-18 Rory McIlroy

-14 Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood

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