'I Got Beaten By A Better Player This Week' - McIlroy On 150th Open Heartbreak

The four-time Major winner wasn't able to keep up with Cameron Smith's sensational bogey-free 64 at St Andrews

Rory McIlroy looking disappointed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy has tipped his cap to 150th Open champion Cam Smith, saying "I got beaten by a better player this week" and calling the Aussie's 20-under total "really, really impressive."

McIlroy and Hovland led Smith by four heading into the final round but Smith, the new World No.2, carded an eight-under-par 64 on Sunday, which featured eight birdies, ten pars and no bogeys.

"Disappointed obviously. Yeah, I felt like I didn't do much wrong today, but I didn't do much right either," McIlroy said after his two-under-par 70, which took him to 18-under-par and a 3rd-place finish.

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"It's just one of those days where I played a really controlled round of golf," McIlroy said. "I did what I felt like I needed to just apart from capitalising on the easier holes -- around the turn, 9, 12, 14. If I had made the birdies there from good positions, it probably would have been a different story.

"But, look, I got beaten by a better player this week. 20-under par for four rounds of golf around here is really, really impressive playing, especially to go out and shoot 64 today to get it done. Yeah, I'll rue a few missed sort of putts that slid by. But it's been a good week overall.

"I can't be too despondent because of how this year's went and this year's going. I'm playing some of the best golf I've played in a long time. So it's just a matter of keep knocking on the door, and eventually one will open."

The Northern Irishman has had a stellar Major season in 2022 without winning one, as his eight-year drought stretches into a ninth year. He was 2nd at The Masters, his best ever finish at Augusta, and was 8th at the PGA Championship and T5th at the US Open.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV