What a weekend at St. Andrews, the birthplace of golf. Many experts were saying that getting to -20 was what it was going to take to hoist the Claret Jug and indeed that’s what Cameron Smith did in taking home his first career major victory.
Smith (-20) was able to get the one stroke lead over his weekend playing partner Cameron Young (-19) and get back atop the leaderboard after firing a 73 on Saturday. The 28-year-old Australian cashed in at 28/1 pre-tournament odds.
Smith Breaks Through
Smith kind of flew under-the-radar for Open Championship betting because he hadn’t been playing particularly well as of late. He was 48th at the RBC Canadian Open and missed the cut at the U.S. Open, but a T10 finish last weekend at the Scottish Open should have shown that his game translates well to links courses.
Smith shot a bogey-free 64 on Sunday and was especially good on the back nine with six birdies – including five straight after the turn.
Close Calls for McIlroy, Young
Cameron Young could taste his maiden major as well – or at least a playoff – after getting an Eagle on 18 to get to -19, but the fearless Smith birdied his final hole to capture the win. Young had missed the cut at the Scottish Open last weekend so his play at the Old Course was impressive.
Rory McIlroy finished third at -18, one of the few times that a 54-hole leader hit every green in regulation in the final round and did not win the tournament. McIlroy couldn’t hit the big putt and instead finished with just two birdies on Sunday to shoot a 70.
McIlroy looked close to his second Open Championship win and fifth major victory, but instead will have to settle for top 10 finishes in each of the four majors this season. It’s been since 2014 that McIlroy has won a major.
Final Time at the Old Course for Tiger?
Tiger Woods went into the weekend with 60/1 odds of winning the Open Championship, but he was never a factor shooting a 78-75 to miss the cut. Woods had won twice before at St. Andrews including going wire-to-wire in 2005, but may have played his last time at the Old Course as the Open is not expected to return here until 2026 or 2027. Then again 56-year-old John Daly and 52-year-old Phil Mickelson were in the field this past weekend.
Solid weekend for LIV Guys
St. Andrews brass was able to avoid some tension when Dustin Johnson failed to make a huge run on Sunday and instead finished T6 at -13. Fellow LIV golfer Bryson DeChambeau looks like he could be on the road to being healthy, finishing in 8th after a stellar final two rounds.
In total the controversial LIV had four golfers land in the top 15 at the Open. That’s a much better showing than the U.S. Open when only four golfers made the cut and none finished inside the top 20.