Skip to main content
The 150th Open

Cameron Smith


The tough Aussie who played the round of his life

Cameron Smith

Even Cameron Smith looked uncertain. 

When the Australian drained his sixth birdie of the most incredible back nine you are likely to see, he at first punched the air but then glanced nervously at the scoreboard – seeking confirmation that he had indeed just compiled one of the greatest rounds in Open history. 

On a week that started with a Celebration of Champions, the last day of The 150th Open was a celebration of golf – for Smith’s play was near-flawless. 

His driving was crisp, his approach play accurate and his putting deadly, the quality, efficiency and consistency of his play the ultimate ambition of anyone who picks up a club. 

In 64 strokes and four-and-a-half hours, he went round the Old Course and snatched the Claret Jug with his 20-under-par total the joint-lowest score to par in Open history. 

“I knew it wasn't going to be too long before I got one of these,” he said.  

“I've knocked on the door, I think, maybe one too many times now. So it's nice to get it done. 

“I knew my game was there. I felt really comfortable. At the end of last week, I started playing some really good golf. I just really needed to keep doing what I was doing.” 

On the back nine, that’s exactly what he did. 

A birdie at 10 got the party started and further putts dropped on 11, 12, 13 and 14. It was ruthless. 

But it was on the 17th where he really passed the test, getting up and down at the infamous Road Hole by sinking an ice-cold 12-foot putt for par. 

It was a far cry from Saturday, where a disappointing 73 in the third round was pockmarked by poor putting. But that’s what Champions do. They come back stronger. 

“I think I was really frustrated yesterday with how the round went,” he said. 

“I just really put it down to links golf. I think you really have those days on these courses where you get a bit of a weird bounce here and there and it puts you in a bad spot. 

“So I shrugged it off pretty good, I think, last night. I really didn't dwell on it too much. But to go out there and really stick my head down and keep making birdies and keep making putts, it was really cool. I think that definitely helped yesterday.” 

Smith is far from a surprise winner, this is a man who won the Players Championship in March, which is no mean feat, and has three top-five Masters finishes. 

But nothing beats The Open – especially this Open. 

One hole behind, Rory McIlroy saw that same dream disappear. It is now 30 majors without a win for McIlroy, and there have been several near-misses in that time – but nothing quite like this. He held a two-shot lead at the turn, did not make a bogey all day, and still finished two shots off the pace. 

He learned the hard way that St Andrews does not always do fairytale endings, despite its fairytale setting. Doug Sanders, Tom Watson or Costantino Rocca, all of whom have had their hearts broken in front of The R&A Clubhouse, will attest to that. 

McIlroy will return and next summer The 151st Open will return to Royal Liverpool, the scene of his sole Claret Jug success in 2014. But it is Smith who will return as Champion Golfer. 

Cameron Smith

“To win an Open Championship in itself is probably going to be a golfer's highlight in their career,” Smith added.  

“To do it around St Andrews, I think is just unbelievable. This place is so cool. I love the golf course. I love the town.” 

Smith batted away any talk of a party, suggesting he will be in bed by 10pm but hopefully he stays awake long enough to call home – just to say I told you so. 

“Dad pulled out in the last minute basically. I had a quick chat with him before. He's kicking himself now,” he said. 

“I think it was the thought of doing all that travel for one week basically. He's definitely kicking himself now. I really wish he was here too.  

“It would have been such a cool week, even without this, to be at the home of golf. Dad loves his golf as well. It would have been awesome.” 

When he does get home, Smith will undoubtedly receive a hero's welcome, after all he is just the fifth Australian to lift the Claret Jug, following in the footsteps of Peter Thomson, Kel Nagle, Greg Norman and Ian Baker-Finch. 

“That's pretty cool. I think just in general, all the names on there, every player that's been at the top of their game has won this Championship,” he said.

“It's pretty cool to be on there. It really hasn't sunk in yet. I don't think it will for a few weeks. Yeah, it's just unreal.”

Smith’s life will change. Money, fame and adulation will come and he will forever be known as the man who won The 150th Open. 

But the mullet? “I think it's going to stay, mate.” 

More on The 150th Open