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Open Insight

Great Final Days


The round of Cameron Smith's life

Cameron Smith kisses the Claret Jug after winning The Open in 2022.

There can surely be no better time to reel off five consecutive birdies than during the back nine in the final round of a major championship.

Remarkably, this was the exact sequence found by eventual Champion Golfer Cameron Smith during the 150th edition of The Open, at St Andrews in 2022.

And the Australian’s maiden major victory is the focus of the first episode of our new YouTube series, Great Final Days.

WATCH: Great Final Days | 2022 | Cameron Smith

Smith began the Sunday four shots off the lead but he would write himself into Open folklore before the weekend came to a close.

“The way I played throughout the week,” he said afterwards, “I still felt hopeful that I could at least have a good crack at it on Sunday.”

He did better than a good crack; he proceeded to compile one of the greatest rounds of his life, with a blemish-free scorecard paving the way for an historic triumph.

Cameron Smith poses with the Claret Jug in front of the grandstand at St Andrews

Smith poses with the Claret Jug in front of a packed St Andrews grandstand

European pair Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland sat atop the leaderboard at the beginning of round four, but neither were able to kick into gear.

Hovland was the first to wobble, dropping a shot at the 4th. McIlroy’s sole birdie on the front nine came at the 5th, meaning he was two shots clear – and three clear of Smith – at the turn.

Nobody could have predicted what Smith would do next.

He moved closer with a birdie on 10. Another arrived at 11. One more at 12. Another at 13. And he was fully in the groove by the time he landed on the 14th green.

Five straight birdies.

Cameron Smith reads a putt on the 13th green at St Andrews

Smith reads a putt on the 13th before holing one of five consecutive birdies

Smith’s incredible salvo had edged him in front with just four holes to play – and a crucial par save on 17, a hole that had plagued him all week, effectively clinched the Claret Jug.

“It was definitely the best back nine closing a tournament I’ve ever had,” he said.

Not only did Smith win The Open, he also hit milestone after milestone along the way.

He finished round four on eight-under-par, becoming the first Champion Golfer to register two rounds of 64.

Meanwhile, his aggregate score of 20-under was the joint-best score to par in Open history – matching Henrik Stenson’s winning mark at Royal Troon in 2016 – and the lowest score at St Andrews.

“Everything just went my way,” Smith said, rather magnanimously.

It was a final day he, and everyone watching, will never forget.

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