Cameron Smith Jul 15, 2022; St. Andrews, SCT; Cameron Smith reacts after an eagle putt on the 14th green during the second round of the 150th Open Championship golf tournament at St. Andrews Old Course. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

For the first nine holes of the final round of the British Open, Cameron Smith was playing well. But when he turned onto the back nine, Smith found another gear.

Smith started the inward half by nearly driving the green on the short par-four 10th hole. His chip was spectacular, finishing in tap-in range.

That birdie moved Smith to within two of Rory McIlroy’s lead. It was also the beginning of a jaw-dropping stretch of golf.

Smith made birdie on the 11th and 12th holes and got to the 13th green one shot back of McIlroy. Smith kept the momentum going, making his fourth birdie in a row to tie McIlroy.

Again, he was not done. Smith reached the green on the par-five 14th hole in two shots. His eagle putt from 110 feet didn’t go in but did settle down right next to the hole. He made the tap-in for fifth consecutive birdie, taking the outright lead in the process.

Those watching the Open were in complete awe of Smith’s remarkable hot streak.

Smith’s birdie streak ended on the 15th hole. His drive missed the fairway and while he did find the green with his approach shot, his birdie putt missed. Smith did manage to save par, though, making a short but tricky putt.

Entering the inward half, Smith was three shots back and it seemed like a foregone conclusion that McIlroy would win. When Smith teed up on 16, he had a one-stroke lead. That change of fortune happened despite McIlroy not making a single bogey. It truly was one of the greatest stretches of golf in major championship history.

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