Now officially one of Australia’s greatest golfers, Cameron Smith says he will try to pack as many beers into the claret jug after winning the 150th Open at St Andrews.
Smith said the beers would flow after shooting 64 to finish at 20-under par, winning the Open by one shot over playing partner Cameron Young (65).
“I’m going to guess two cans of beer (will fit in the claret jug),” Smith said in his winning press conference. “I’ll probably have about 20 Claret Jugs (tonight).”
Overnight co-leader Rory McIlroy (70) finished third at 18-under, unable to keep up with Smith after the Brisbane native rattled off five straight birdies from the 10th.
Smith etched his name into Open Championship and Australian golf folklore by becoming the nation’s fifth winner of the event, joining Greg Norman (1986 and 1993), Ian Baker Finch (1991), Kel Nagle (1960) and five-time champion Peter Thomson (1954, 1955, 1956, 1958 and 1965). Only Nagle and Thomson won the Open at Andrews.
Now the world No.2, Smith became the third Australian to win the Open at the Home of Golf after Nagle and Thomson. Smith also ended a 29-year drought for Australians at golf’s oldest Major. His fellow Queenslander Norman was the last Australian to win the Open in 1993.
Smith was blown away when told Nagle won the 100th anniversary playing of the Open at St Andrews in 1960.
“That’s pretty cool. I didn’t know that,” Smith said. “To win an Open Championship in itself is probably going to be a golfer’s highlight in their career. To do it around St Andrews, it’s just unbelievable.”
Smith’s 30 on the back nine was the lowest score over a closing nine holes by a winner in Open history. His 20-under total equalled fellow Henrik Stenson’s Open Championship scoring record (2016) while it beat Tiger Woods’ St Andrews scoring record by one (2000).
Three-time Open champion Nick Faldo called it a “legendary” final round.
“It’s extra special to win it here. Basically, you are defined a different type of champion because you’ve won at St Andrews,” said Faldo, commentating on Sky TV.
“To win here really is the holy grail, especially this landmark one. Everybody will know and remember who won the 150th Open at St Andrews. Congratulations Cam – I’m in shock!
“I’m obviously very proud of that fact (of being a St Andrews Open winner) too. But Cam’s had a hard time with (being away from Australia during) COVID, didn’t see his mum, dad and sister for a couple of years but he’s battled away.
“That’s a legendary round … this man is so gutsy, and had such incredible mental strength to go with a legendary short game. Now he’s a legend with a wedge and a putter in his hand, isn’t he?”
Smith had been knocking on the door at Majors, most recently when he played in the final group at the Masters only to finish tied third and hand Scottie Scheffler Augusta National’s green jacket.
“I’ve definitely kicked myself a couple of times over the past few years,” said Smith, who also finished runner up at the 2020 Masters. “To do it the way I did today was pretty cool to be (behind) and really apply pressure, keep holing putts. It was awesome.”