Cameron Smith dedicated his first major triumph at the British Open to the crowd of Australian fans who roared him to victory at St Andrews.
St Andrews — Cameron Smith dedicated his first major triumph at the British Open to the crowd of Australian fans who roared him to victory at St Andrews.
The world number six produced a stunning final round of 64 to match the Open record of 20-under-par.
Smith needed every stroke as his playing partner Cameron Young finished just one shot back, while crowd favourite Rory McIlroy was third on 18-under.
“I had a lot of support out there, especially the Aussie guys, you guys really kept me going out there,” said Smith as he was presented with the Claret Jug.
“It seemed like there was a lot of you guys out there, you kept me plugging away so this one is for Aus!”
Speaking after the event, McIlroy said he was simply beaten by the better player as Smith prolonged the Northern Irishman’s eight-year wait to add to his majors haul at the British Open.
Despite not dropping a shot, McIlroy was left to regret a series of birdie putts slipping by the hole as his 70 to reach 18-under-par was still two shots behind Smith’s record-equalling tally at a British Open.
“I got beaten by the better player this week. To shoot 64 to win an Open Championship at St Andrews is one hell of a showing, so hats off to Cam, he’s had an unbelievable week,” said McIlroy.
The world number two was in pole position to win his second British Open as he shared the overnight lead with Viktor Hovland, four shots clear of Smith.
But the 33-year-old’s wait to add to the four majors he won between 2011 and 2014 goes on.
“I had a great opportunity today to add to that major tally and I didn’t quite get it done,” added McIlroy.
“I didn’t feel like I did many things wrong, but the putter went cold on me throughout the round.
“I did what I wanted to do. I played a really controlled round of golf. I didn’t take advantage of the holes I had been taking advantage of this week.”