ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Cameron Smith, the Australian golfer who has emerged as one of the game’s most skilled craftsmen on the greens, used a back-nine run of birdies on Sunday to storm up the British Open leaderboard and, after two dozen disappointments, win his first major championship.
Smith shot a sparkling 64 and finished at 20 under for the tournament.
Smith’s success, a stirring final-round effort that still only gradually dawned on the spectators along the Old Course at St. Andrews, came with a steady assault on the four-shot lead that Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland opened the day guarding.
Beginning on No. 10, Smith, who began the day at 12 under par, birdied five consecutive holes, while McIlroy’s birdie putts too often fell short, his advantage slimming and then disappearing. In turn, one month after he missed the cut at the U.S. Open, Smith, the world No. 6, found his way to history on the claret jug.
Smith, 28, won the Players Championship in March, his second PGA Tour victory this season. The next month, he tied for third at the Masters Tournament.
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