2022 Tournaments We’ll Remember: 150th British Open

Through the end of the year, the SI Golf team will look back at 10 memorable tournaments from 2022.More Tournaments We’ll Remember: U.S. Open | RBC Canadian Open | LIV Golf’s London Debut | PGA Championship | The Masters | Augusta National Women’s Am | Chevron ChampionshipThe Event: 150th British OpenSite: The Old Course, St Andrews, ScotlandDates: July 14-17Result: Cam Smith won by a shot over Cam Young and by two over Rory McIlroyWhy We’ll Remember It: For so many reasons, this seemed to be McIlroy’s week. The good vibes of playing with Tiger Woods in Ireland the week previous, as well as—perhaps—seeing Woods traverse the Old Course for the final time and all but handing Rory that mantle as the crossed paths on the course on Friday were among the many clues. So was the fact that McIlroy was playing well. He had finished in the top 10 in each of the first three majors. He won the Canadian Open. And he shared the 54-hole lead with Viktor Hovland, by four strokes, over Cam Young and Smith. It seemed all McIlroy needed to do was handle Hovland, and the Claret Jug—and a first major in eight years—was his. But Smith had other ideas. The Aussie who won the Players Championship earlier in the year with a stellar last round, put together a final round for the ages, making eight birdies over the closing 18 holes to shoot 64 and stun McIlroy—who didn’t do much wrong, but didn’t do much right. McIlroy hit all 18 greens in regulation, had no bogeys and two birdies—and still lost. Smith got hot late on the first nine and carried that momentum over to the final nine holes. A par save from behind the Road Bunker at the 17th hole highlighted his finish, as he putted around the gaping trap to a spot 10 feet from the hole and then made the putt to save par. Young, playing with Smith, nearly eagled the par-4 home hole to tie Smith and finished a stroke back. McIlroy needed an eagle at the last to tie but was unable to drive the game and hit an indifferent pitch that led to a par. It was a gripping day at the 150th playing of the Open, and gave Smith his first major title on the way to a strong year that saw him win three times on the PGA Tour before jumping to LIV Golf. After the FedEx Cup playoffs, Smith headed to LIV, where he won in his second start at the Chicago event. He also added a victory at the Australian PGA Championship.

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