15 Sep 2023 | Professional golf |
Great Australian Moments 27: Smith's masterclass at St Andrews
by Martin Blake
What is it about Australians and St Andrews milestones?
Fifty years after Kel Nagle surprised everyone including himself by winning the centenary Open Championship at the home of golf, Queenslander Cameron Smith produced one of the greatest single rounds in major championship history to win the 150th playing of the game’s oldest tournament at St Andrews in July, 2022.
Smith’s closing 64 with eight birdies and not a single blemish goes into the annals of the game’s history.
The 28-year-old who came out of the Wantima Country Club in Brisbane where his father Des remains a fixture became the fifth Australian to win the Claret Jug as the Champion Golfer of the Year.
As moments go, it sits with Adam Scott’s 2013 Masters tournament triumph in Australian sports history.
Four back at the start of round four, Smith forged into contention with a string of five consecutive birdies from the turn, his putter running hot.
Having taken the lead, he made an incredible par-save from left of the road hole bunker at No. 17 and a two-putt birdie from the fringe in front of the 18th put him in the clubhouse as the leader, despite Cameron Young’s eagle at the 18th to briefly join him at 19-under par.
The Australian had to wait for Rory McIlroy, playing in the final group, to complete the 72nd hole and not make an eagle before he knew that the prize was his. Once McIlroy’s pitched second shot did not disappear into the hole, it was over.
"All the names on there, every player that's been at the top of their game has won this championship," Smith 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.
The Claret Jug was duly in for a hammering that night. "I’m definitely going to find out how many beers fit in this thing, that’s for sure,” he said.
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