British Open: A combative Aussie takes control

British Open: Fighting Aussie takes control


ST ANDREWS | Cameron Smith is not naturally patient. On the Old Course of St Andrews, however, he swallows his pill. The strategy is working, as he topped the 150th edition of the British Open.

The 28-year-old Australian, winner of the PGA Tour Players Championship, put on a brilliant display on a slow day that started in light rain and cloud. 

By taking the start at the very beginning of the afternoon, Smith however set off under the sun and in conditions on a course similar to that of the day before. On the very firm and very fast Old Course, he fought back by signing a card of 64 (-8), which allowed him to outstrip the leader after the first round, Cameron Young, by two shots.  

The man with the mustache and the Longueuil cut got off to a flying start by sticking three birdies in a row. And on the long par 4 of the 14th, when the wind had changed direction, he made an eagle, which allowed him to settle in control with a cumulative record of -13.

The sixth-largest golfer in the world would have liked to finish with a birdie or two more on returning to the clubhouse, but his six sparrows and his eagle sated him. 

“I played a smart, solid round. I evaluated the power of my putts well and I did well on the greens”, he analyzed.  

Similar to Melbourne

This week Smith is back to some of the course conditions he experienced growing up in Melbourne. When the Australian furnace does its thing in summer, it dries up the courses. Although it is only his first visit to St Andrews, he is doing well.

“I have always played well in more difficult conditions. Most Australians know how to deal with this situation. We learned to apply an intelligent style of play. You have to know how to hit further than the pennant sometimes. When you come here, in such a big championship, it is useful.  »

Smith is recognized as an aggressive player. On the American courses, like his peers, he plays darts with the flags. 

On the links, he uses strategy. “When you're not close to the flag, it can hurt the ego sometimes. But you have to know how to accept it around here, he stressed. 

“I love this course in these conditions. You have to think and know how to negotiate each place by identifying where the ball should stop. It's really not obvious. »

McIlroy saliva

Smith is looking to savor a first major consecration. For the past three years, he has often flirted with victory without being able to get the job done. Whether it's his recent appearances at the Masters Tournament or the recent PGA of America Championship, he's learned from his mistakes. 

But he'll have to watch out for Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Scottie Scheffler, among others, who are watching behind. 

Rory McIlroy

Installed in third position tied with Viktor Hovland, at -10, McIlroy is eyeing the Claret more than ever Judge. He hasn't won a Grand Slam tournament since 2014. 

And at No. 5, Johnson is looking to redeem his rout from the weekend of 2015, when the storm derailed his game. He was sitting in No. 1 heading into the third round. He finally finished in 49th place. 

Dustin Johnson

Author of scores of 68 (-4) and 67 (-5) after 36 holes, “ DJ&nbsp ;» will not change its game plan depending on the weather. He will respect the winds and attack the course accordingly, avoiding the pits at all costs. 

The cleaver fell to par as 83 golfers will take part in the weekend rounds. 

While Canadian Corey Conners is ranked 46th at -2, Mackenzie Hughes has as for packs him under a -second card of 75 (+3). Disaster came from the 14th, where he followed it up with three bogeys and a double bogey at the Road Hole.   

St Andrews express 

Dummy Thermometer

Walking along the narrow street The Links which runs along the 18th hole, you see all the colors. The place sweats from this frenzy for the little white ball. At the entrance to the One Under Bar, in the basement of the chic Rusacks hotel, there is a menu of weather variations, a nod to the menu of drinks served on the rocks. We know that in Scotland, the weather changes every ten minutes and that you have to be prepared for all eventualities by facing the four seasons. Thus, if we do not see the rock, it means that we are in the fog. But if you see two rocks, you have to stop drinking!

7 courses

The lovers of the small white ball know especially the Old Course and the New Course of St Andrews. But the Scottish golf resort offers seven courses. There is also the Jubilee, built in 1897, and the Eden Course, founded in 1914. In 1993, the Strathtyrum and Balgove courses opened. The youngest in the family, the Castle, was built in 2008. Prices vary between $20 and $450, approximately.

John Daly colors

You should have seen John Daly, yesterday, wearing his orange pants with the logo of the famous American restaurant chain Hooters. The show was worth the detour. With a cigarette in the mouth and Bryson DeChambeau savoring a protein shake nearby, there was a clash of generations. The five bogeys on Daly's return cost him a spot in the weekend rounds.