Cameron Smith dedicated his first Major triumph at The Open to the Australian fans who roared him to victory at St Andrews.
The world No 6 produced a stunning final round of 64 to match The Open record of 20-under par.
Smith needed every stroke as his playing partner Cameron Young finished just one shot back, while crowd favourite Rory McIlroy was third on 18-under.
“I had a lot of support out there, especially the Aussie guys, you guys really kept me going out there,” said Smith as he was presented with the Claret Jug.
“It seemed like there were a lot of you guys out there, you kept me plugging away so this one is for Aus!”
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 17, 2022
Despite not dropping a shot, McIlroy was left to regret a series of birdie putts slipping by the hole.
“I got beaten by the better player this week. To shoot 64 to win an Open Championship at St Andrews is one hell of a showing, so hats off to Cam, he’s had an unbelievable week,” said the Northern Irishman.
The world No 2 was in pole position to win his second Open as he shared the overnight lead with Viktor Hovland, four shots clear of Smith. But the 33-year-old’s wait to add to the four Majors he won between 2011 and 2014 goes on.
“I had a great opportunity today to add to that Major tally and I didn’t quite get it done,” added McIlroy. “I didn’t feel like I did many things wrong, but the putter went cold on me throughout the round.
“I did what I wanted to do. I played a really controlled round of golf. I didn’t take advantage of the holes I had been taking advantage of this week.”
© Agence France-Presse