02/03/2024

Cameron Smith has capped off a career-best year in the PGA Major Competitions after winning the British Open. (Photo: The Open/Twitter)

After winning his first major championship at the The Open in St. Andrews, we take a look back at Aussie Cameron Smith's career best year.

Cameron Smith has etched his name into golf record books, winning his first major title at the Open Championship (also known as the British Open) over the weekend.

Smith becomes the first Australian to win one of the four major titles since Jason Day’s heroics at the PGA Championship in 2015.

Fresh off winning his maiden major title and in the best form of his career, The Inner Sanctum looked back at how Smith has performed in the four major championships this year.

The Open Championship (First)

Having put together a strong 2022 campaign which included winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January and the Players Championship in March, Smith’s career-best form culminated in him winning the 150th edition of the British Open to become the Champion Golfer of the Year.

Taking place at St. Andrews in Scotland at the Old Course for the first time since 2015, Smith showed nerves of steel, coming back from four strokes down in the fourth round.

Smith (-20) had a round for the ages, scoring 64 on his final round to edge out Cameron Young (-19) and Rory McIlroy (-18) to be crowned champion.

He did his work on the back nine holes, recording five consecutive birdies, followed by three pars before finishing off with one more birdie to score eight under par with a combined total of 268.

Smith set a new record for the lowest aggregate on the course and became the first Australian to lift the famous Claret Jug trophy since Greg Norman in 1993.

The 28-year-old’s weekend got off to a strong start at St. Andrews, going five under par in the first round with a score of 67 followed by eight under in round two. At the halfway point he sat 13 under, comfortably in first with a score of 131.

Smith’s score was the lowest 36-hole score in the history of the Open Championship at St. Andrews

He was unable to emulate his success in the third round, having a less than stellar performance with a score of 73 to be one over par.

Sitting tied-third going into the final day, the Australian clutched up when he needed to most, only shooting pars and birdies in the fourth round to lift the trophy.

The win held extra significance being at St. Andrews, which is the oldest and one of the most famous golf courses in the world, making the win even sweeter for Smith.  

“This is going to be a really tough one to beat,” Smith told NBC Sports.

“To win an Open Championship is every kid’s dream but to win it around St. Andrews is another level above that.”

The Masters (Tied third)

In the first major of the 2022 calendar, Smith entered as a hot favourite to claim the Green Jacket at Augusta, coming off his Players Championship win just the month prior.

Unfortunately, it was not to be with a handful of poor holes costing him the chance to become the first Australian since Adam Scott in 2013 to win The Masters.

Smith sat in second place after the first round, shooting four under par. The Brisbane native could have put himself clear ahead in first if it was not for a double-bogey on the first and 18th hole.

Like many others in the top 15, Smith scored worse in the second round with a score of 74, putting him tied sixth, just two under par.

Smith moved back into second place following a score of 68 in the third round to record the best round of the day but two shots.

Approaching the fourth day and the final round, Smith was three shots behind eventual champion Scottie Scheffler. Smith got off to a great start scoring two birdies to open the day, cutting the lead to just one.

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Hole 12 is where it all went wrong for Smith, teeing off and landing in Rae’s Creek. This meant he had to take a drop, adding an extra shot to his score.

Smith then hit over the green with it taking six shots to get the ball in the hole, resulting in a triple-bogey. The triple-bogey ended Smith’s hopes as fell out of contention, finishing with a score of 283 overall, tied third with Shane Lowry.

This was Smith’s second best result at Augusta, having tied second in 2020.

The PGA Championship (Tied 13th)

The second major championship of the year took place at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with Smith having his best result in the tournament finishing tied 13th.

Smith remained in the top 10 after the first two rounds with scores of 68 and 70 to be two under par.

A difficult course to play, Smith was not on his game in round three, going three over par with a score of 73 after hitting five bogeys through the 18 holes.

Needing a miracle to somehow win the tournament, Smith scored 69 on the final day to finish with a total score of 280, equalling par.

The result was the first time Smith finished in the top 20 at the PGA Championship, five shots behind winner Justin Thomas.

The US Open (Cut)

At the US Open, Smith had his worst performance of the four majors, unable to make the cut after two rounds.

He scored two above par in the first round with a score of 72, which he followed up the next day with an even more disappointing 74.

Smith’s total score of 146 was six over par, and therefore did not progress to the final two days.

At the US Open, only the top 60 players – including ties – advance to the rounds three and four, with Smith for the second straight year not making the cut.

Smith’s previous best result at the US open was in 2015, when he tied fourth with fellow Aussie Adam Scott after finishing three under par.

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