Cameron Smith had “no idea” he set a stunning new Masters record no winner can even boast and is already eyeing off an April assault after snaring a runner-up finish at just his fifth Masters.
The 27-year-old Australian didn’t know his par putt on the 18th, after nearly chipping in for a final hole birdie, made him the only player ever to shoot four rounds in the 60s at Augusta.
That’s a feat six-time Masters winner Jack Nicklaus, five-time champion Tiger Woods or Dustin Johnson, who finished five shots in front of Smith to win his first green jacket, have never achieved.
“That‘s really cool. I had no idea starting today that I needed to do that. Yeah, that’s really cool. I mean, I honestly can’t believe it, “ Smith said.
“Yeah, it would have been cool to do that and win. I was actually saying before, you know, I‘d take 15 under around here the rest of my career and I might win a couple.
“But I love the place. I want to win here really badly, and I feel like it brings the best out of my game.
“So yeah, it‘s just the way it is. I felt as though I didn’t quite have my longest stuff, like I said, this week, but my scrambling was what kept me in it”.
Two shots was as close as Smith got to Johson midway through the final round, before the American powered home to record the greatest ever wining score at the Masters of 20-under
Smith said he fully expected his dad, at home in Queensland, would have “cracked a beer” if he won, despite it being 6am.
“I hope they are not drinking beer already. It’s about 6:00 AM I think. I’m sure my old man would have cracked one if I had got the win today,” he said. .
“I’ve got all your messages this week on social media, and means a lot. You kept me in it, but yeah, sorry I couldn’t get it done.”
Cameron Smith birdies No. 15 to reach 15 under par and 4 back from the leader. #themasters pic.twitter.com/nM6TfTAv21
Smith has shown an immediate affinity with Augusta, and the result was the Queenslander’s second top-five finish in the past three Masters, having finished tied for fifth in 2018.
Fellow Aussie Marc Leishman, who closed with a four-under 68, his best score of the week, to finish in a tie for 13th, said he expected to see Smith’s name at the top of leaderboards “for a long time to come”.
“He’s been a good player for a long time, but I think he’s really comfortable at it now,” he said.
“Cam’s a great player. He’s going to be a great player for a long time. I would expect to see him on leaderboards here for a long time to come.”
Smith said the result was a “massive confidence booster” before he returns to Hawaii in January to defend the title he won earlier this year, before returning to the Masters again in April.
“I love the course … when it plays firm and fast,” he said.
“I felt like I got away with a lot this week, a bit of skewiff shots into the green, something I might need to tidy up if we‘re coming back here and it’s firm and fast.”
Cameron Smith “loves the place” and set a new scoring record at the Masters (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Adam Scott closed with a final round one-opver 73, to tied for 34th, and said he felt like he wasn’t fully ready after a COVID-19 diagnosis in October set his preparation back.
“Look, I think there‘s lots of positives, but my game is a couple weeks under prepared, to be honest,” he said.
“I think that two week break cost me a little bit. I got off to the start I wanted, but unfortunately, when I lost the momentum, I just didn’t give myself enough chances to kind of claw my way back into it.”
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