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The 150th Open

'It's just unreal'


Cameron Smith reflects on joining Open greats

Cameron Smith admires trophy

Cameron Smith struggled to comprehend the scale of his achievement after etching his name on the Claret Jug with a sensational Sunday performance at The 150th Open.

The Australian overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of the final round to be crowned Champion Golfer of the Year at the home of golf, shooting a magnificent 64.

His 20-under-par cumulative total surpassed Tiger Woods’ record at St Andrews in 2000 in the process, as Smith finished a shot clear of Cameron Young and two ahead of Rory McIlroy.

Smith’s record-breaking feat sees him join an illustrious list of winners on the Old Course, including the likes of Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Bobby Jones.

And after becoming the first Australian to lift the Claret Jug since 1993, the 28-year-old admitted he was lost for words as he attempted to get his head around his achievement.

“What a week - I'm going to fall apart here I know. I want to thank the team here for all their hard work, and this one makes it worth it,” Smith said on the 18th green.

“To the R&A - a fantastic week, to St Andrews Links and everyone involved - it was absolutely awesome out there. The course was exactly how an Open Championship should be played.

Cameron Smith

“Lastly to you guys, the fans, I had a lot of support out there, especially the Aussie guys.

“You guys really kept me going out there. Seemed like there was a lot of you guys and you kept me plugging away. This one's for Oz.”

Smith had also led this landmark edition of The Open after Friday’s second round, shooting a 64 to top the leaderboard by two strokes before slipping back with a one-over 73.

But while he started Sunday four back from overnight leaders McIlroy and Viktor Hovland, he kept himself in the mix with birdies on the 2nd and 5th on Sunday to go out in 34.

That was followed by a remarkable five consecutive birdies after the turn to snatch the lead from McIlroy and he sealed another magnificent 64 with an eighth birdie on the closing hole.

Reflecting on the position he found himself in at the start of the day, Smith felt it worked in his favour being in the chasing pack as he had no choice but to attack the Old Course.

“I felt good all day, and those putts just started going in on that back nine and I just got a lot of momentum going. I mean, from there it was just really solid stuff,” 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.

Cameron Smith

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

“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.”

Smith is the first Champion Golfer to have two scores of 64 or better while his 20-under-par equals the lowest-score to par in Championship history, set by Henrik Stenson in 2016.

“It's just unreal,” Smith added.

“This place is so cool, to have The 150th Open here at St Andrews and to walk away with the win is something I've dreamt of. I never thought I'd get this far. It's awesome.”

While Smith’s run of birdies fired him to the top of the leaderboard, his incredible up-and-down on the 17th hole was arguably the moment that won him the Claret Jug.

He said: “I was just trying to get it on the green and have a look. The putter felt hot all day. I knew if I could get within 15-20 feet I could have a look and I got away with it.

“It's unreal to look at the names on this trophy and then see mine... I'm lost for words.”

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