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.
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.
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.
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.
“Everything just went my way,” Smith said, rather magnanimously.
It was a final day he, and everyone watching, will never forget.