Cameron Smith shakes off his knee injury to shoot his best opening round yet at The Open
‘I’m a Queensland man’: Cameron Smith channels the spirit of Maroons as the Aussie overcomes his knee injury to shoot his best opening round yet at The Open
- Cam Smith appeared to have a knee problem in the opening round of The Open
- The Australian carded a five under par 67 at St Andrews on Thursday
- The first-round result is his best start at The Open to date
- Smith shrugged and said he expected to make a quick recovery
- Australia’s Min Woo Lee finished the opening round with three under par
Cameron Smith has downplayed injury concerns and raised hopes for a long-overdue Australian British Open Triumph with his best start to date to the links course major.
Midway through the first round at St. Andrews, Smith fired a stylish 5-under par 67 to sit three strokes behind American clubhouse leader Cameron Young.
Smith canceled out a lone bogey with six birdies to put himself back in the mix for an elusive first major after a third-place finish at this year’s Masters and a tied 13th in the US PGA Championship.
Cameron Smith finished the opening round of The Open five under par 67
The world No. 6 made the turn in three under with birdies on the second, fifth and seventh holes and included his only dropped shot on No. 11 with further birdies on 10 and 12.
Smith’s fear of injury came on the par-5 14, when he caught hold of his knee after chopping out of deep rough.
“I’m fine now, but it felt like I had a little hyperextension in the back of my knee,” he said.
“It took a couple of holes but I’m a Queensland man – I get over it pretty quickly. Just a bit fussy for 10 minutes and it went away.
The Australian survived an injury scare when he appeared to pick up a knee injury
Despite the scare, Smith avoided dropping a shot with a nice approach with his second from the rough, then iced his round with a sixth birdie after finishing the short par 4 last.
“It’s really nice to have a hot start to every week,” he said.
“But these majors, the harder the course gets, especially here, like it gets really solid and really fast, it’s going to be almost like holding on to the weekend I think.
“So nice to get out there and shoot a number and put me well underperforming.”
The Queenslander was particularly satisfied with his putting game on Thursday
The 2022 Players champion was particularly pleased with his putting.
“Had a lot of good lag putts today. It was probably one of the best lag putts I’ve ever done,” Smith said.
“My putt on the second managed to go in from a distance. That was pretty decent.
“But I had so many. Seems like I have so many 80, 90, 100 foot machines out there today and did a good job getting them down in two.
Smith’s score of 67 is his best result in the opening round of The Open to date
Min Woo Lee was second best of the Australian morning starters after using his early start time to post a three-under 69.
Lee double-eyed the third par 4 but reeled out three birdies and an eagle to briefly take the lead in the clubhouse.
“It’s been a good recovery, a great recovery,” he said.
“The only thing I wasn’t good at is recovering from bad shots. So hitting a nine iron into the next hole and making a birdie there was kind of the start of the round.’
Australia’s Min Woo Lee finished the opening round with a three-under par 69
Lucas Herbert also had a promising start to the 150th Open, carding two under 70.
Brad Kennedy caught fire with seven birdies in his first 14 holes to reach three under late in his opening round.
Former runners-up Adam Scott and Marc Leishman, who lost a three-man play-off in the home of golf the last time the Open was held in 2015, played both afternoon rounds with American LIV golf rebel Dustin Johnson.