Cam Smith rides smoking-hot putter to win at The Open
Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland entered Sunday as the 54-hole co-leaders at The Open Championship, but it was Cameron Smith who went out and took the Claret Jug from them. He did so with one of the best putting performances you will ever see in a major.
Smith shot an 8-under 64 in the final round to win his first major with a total score of 20-under. He struck the ball well, but his putting is what won him the tournament. The Australian birdied holes 10 through 14. Three of those birdies came from a distance too (18 feet, 16 feet and 11 feet).
McIlroy did not play poorly. He just couldn’t get anything to roll in, and the opposite was true for Smith. In addition to all of the lengthy birdies, Smith also saved an extremely important par with a 10-foot put on 17. He went on to birdie 18 to give him six birdies in his last nine holes.
Smith has broken out in a huge way this year. He won The Players Championship in March and seems to be in contention in every big tournament. His putting is a big reason for that. The 28-year-old rarely gets rattled no matter how important the moment. That was the case once again at St. Andrews.
Oftentimes in a major championship, you will see someone at the top of the leaderboard open the door for those behind him by making mistakes. In this instance, Smith just putted better. He had 12 putts total on the back nine. That was basically what the 2022 Open Championship came down to.