AAP Golf

Smith’s hairy final round at The Open

By AAP Newswire

Cameron Smith walked off windswept Royal Portrush and asked "how's my hair?" after almost being blown away during the British Open's brutal final round.

Smith hung tough on a wild Sunday afternoon to finish in the top 20 at The Open for the first time despite closing with a five-over-par 76.

"That was probably something I haven't experienced for a while. It was just brutal. That was all it was," he said, as many of the world's best golfers suffered on Sunday.

Former champions Henrik Stenson and Jordan Spieth shot 76 and 77 respectively to share 20th spot with Smith, while former world No.1 Justin Rose carded a 79.

World No.1 Brooks Koepka started the day in contention but was never a threat before signing for a 74.

Even runaway winner Shane Lowry, who had shattered The Open's 54-hole scoring record with 16 under through the first three rounds, couldn't match par on Sunday.

"It was so hard out there," Lowry said.

"When that big shower came in on the eighth, the ninth tee shot was just like: 'Put the ball down and hope for the best' because it was incredible, the rain that was coming down."

Smith's final round included birdies on the fifth and 10th holes but he immediately gave those shots back, among seven bogeys on Sunday.

"It seemed like you couldn't control your ball no matter how good a strike you had or how good you thought your read was. It was just everywhere," he said.

"I guess you never know what golf can throw at you. Sometimes you've just got to hang in there, even though it's going the wrong way.

"I actually made a few good bogeys coming in."

Asked what a 15-handicapper might have shot in such appalling conditions, Smith said, "I don't think they would finish, to be honest, if they were counting all of them."

Smith said the 17th hole, in particular, felt almost unplayable.

"It was straight in off the left. The hole wants you to draw it and it's virtually impossible to do with the 30k wind or whatever it was," he said.

American halfway leader JB Holmes, who started the final round at 10 under and in third place, crashed with a jaw-dropping 87 to finished tied for 67th.