The Open: Disappointed Rory McIlroy admits Cameron Smith was ‘the better player’

A gracious Rory McIlroy praised Open champion Cameron Smith after the Australian’s stunning final round secured his first major title at St Andrews.

McIlroy started the day with a tie for the lead and was two shots up on the turn, but a final 70 with no bogey proved insufficient to end his eight-year losing streak in the game’s biggest tournaments.

Smith made eight birdies – including five in a row from the 10th – to card his second 64 of the week and finish 20 under par, beating the previous best of 19 under on the Old Course set by Tiger Woods in 2000.

Australia’s Cameron Smith putts for his birdie on the 18th (Richard Sellers/PA)

(PA wire)

“[I’m]obviously disappointed,” McIlroy said. “I felt like I didn’t do much wrong today, but I didn’t do much right either.

“This is just one of those days where I played a really controlled round of golf. I did what I thought was necessary, apart from (not) using the easier holes around the corner, nine, 12, 14.

“If I had made the birdies from good positions there, it would probably have been a different story.

“But look, I got beaten by a better player this week; Playing 20 under par for four rounds of golf around here is really, really impressive, especially when you go out and shoot 64 to get it done today.

Rory McIlroy looks dejected on the 18th after finishing third at the 150th Open (David Davies/PA)

(PA wire)

“I’ll regret a couple of missed putts that slipped by, but overall it’s been a good week. I can’t be too down on how this year is going.

“I’m playing the best golf I’ve played in a long time. So it’s just a matter of constantly knocking on the door, and eventually one will open.

“I’ll be fine. At the end of the day, it’s not a matter of life or death. I will have different chances to win the Open Championship and different chances to win Majors. I feel like I missed it, but there will be other opportunities.

“I just have to keep positioning myself, put myself in there. And whenever you put yourself in that bright light, you have to deal with setbacks and failures.

“Today is one of those times. But I just have to dust myself off and come back and keep working hard and keep believing in it.”

McIlroy and his family were staying at a hotel overlooking the 18th hole of the Old Course and the 33-year-old admitted he kept imagining his name at the top of the leaderboard behind the green by the end of Sunday’s game to see.

“I’m only human. I’m not a robot,” McIlroy said. “Of course you think about it and imagine it, and you want to imagine it.

“My hotel room is right across from the big yellow sign on 18 there and every time I step out of the house I try to picture McIlroy as the top name on that ranking and how did that make you feel?

“It was at the top at the start of the day, but it won’t be like that tomorrow morning. Of course you have to dream.

“You have to think about what it would be like, but once I was on the golf course it was just the task of playing the best golf possible.” The Open: Disappointed Rory McIlroy admits Cameron Smith was ‘the better player’

Fry Electronics Team

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