By the numbers: Smith’s record-breaking Open week
Well, where do you start with Cameron Smith’s victory at St Andrews’s Old Course. Following Sunday’s superlative-defying play, the Queenslander racked up a number of firsts that will ensure his place in the record books for many years to come.
In the same week that Tiger Woods made perhaps his final professional appearance at the Home Of Golf, Smith set a new St. Andrews record tally of 20-under to pip Woods’ historic 19-under set at the 2000 Open Championship; the year that Woods won by eight strokes over Thomas Bjørn and Ernie Els.
Cameron Smith celebrates following his win at the 150th Open Championship (Credit: R&A)
His back-nine 30, which included six birdies and five in a row from the 10th hole, was the lowest by any major champion in a final round.
Smith’s 20-under also equalled Henrik Stenson’s record 72-hole total from his Open Championship win over Phil Mickelson in 2016, which included a final round 63.
Smith matches Jack Nicklaus’ 1978 record of the only other player in history to win the Players and Open Championship in the same year.
On Friday, the Queenslander fired the first of two bogey-free rounds of 8-under 64 (Friday and Sunday) to record a 13-under total and break the St Andrews 36-hole Open scoring record previously shared by Greg Norman, Nick Faldo and Louis Oosthuizen.
Known as one of the best putters on Tour, Smith wielded his Scotty Cameron Putter in style during the second round to also record an unofficial PGA Tour record. His 253 foot of putts including a 64 foot eagle putt at the 14th hole was the most ever recorded during a PGA Tour round.
The bad news for Smith is that it will remain as an unofficial record as the Open Championship uses its own tracking equipment and as such the PGA Tour doesn’t recognise the veracity of the data. So Brent Geiberger’s 2005 record 240 foot worth of putts at the Booz Allen Classic will remain intact.
Smith’s two rounds of 8-under 64 were also the equal-lowest of the week and the first time a major champion carded two rounds of 64 or lower. Only two other players – Sam Burns and Cameron Young – recorded one round of 64 each.
And let’s not forget amongst all of this, he shot a third round 1-over 73.
Smith now moves to World No.2 and second place on the FedExCup Standings and looks set to challenge Scottie Scheffler for the top spot.
Champion Golfer of the Year, indeed.