2022 The Open Championship Recap – Cameron Smith’s Superb Final 9 Holes Nets Him the Open Championship for First Major Title.
On the strength of five-straight birdies from holes 10-14, Cameron Smith shot an 8-under 64 to deny Rory McIlroy his fifth major title and cap a career year for the Australian by winning the 150th Open Championship at historic St. Andrews on Sunday.
After setting a PGA Tour record by winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions at 34-under par in January, winning The Players Championship in March, and finishing third at the Masters, Smith won his first major by shooting an 8-under 64, coming from four strokes back to pass McIlroy (who finished third) and beat Cameron Young by one stroke.
“Those guys are great players. They weren’t going to give it to me. I had to take it,” Smith said after raising the Claret Jug. “It was a good thing that I was behind. My mindset would have been a touch different coming in, especially on that back nine if I was ahead.”
After Smith, who won with a 20-under 268, had a chance to reflect on his season that’s now moved him into second in both the Official World Golf Rankings and FedEx Cup standings, he spoke about the importance of this win.
“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, I think is just unbelievable. This place is so cool.”
McIlroy came into the final round tied for the lead with Viktor Hovland, but his 2-under 70 wasn’t enough to hold off Smith’s excellent round. He ended the 2022 major season with four top-10s (including a third here and second at the Masters), but his major drought will be extended to nine years come next April at Augusta.
“The putter went cold on me,” McIlroy said after making two birdies and 16 pars to finish -18 for the tournament. “When both Camerons — especially Smith — went on that run on the back nine, I had to dig deep to make birdies. And I just couldn’t. I got beaten by the better player this week. To go out and shoot 64 to win the Open Championship at St. Andrews is a hell of a showing. Hats off to Cam.”
Young leaped past McIlroy and finished second at 19-under after holing out at 18 for eagle.
Hovland shot a 74 on Sunday to end up tied for fourth with Tommy Fleetwood at -14. Dustin Johnson was the highest-finishing golfer from the LIV Golf tour, tying for sixth with Brian Harman at 13-under. Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, and Bryson DeChambeau tied for eighth at -13.
The PGA Tour heads back to the United States for the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Minnesota. Cameron Champ returns to defend his title in 2021 and will face a field that includes Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im, and J.T. Poston, all of whom have won tournaments this season.