Cameron Smith Has Strong Finish At US Open As He Looks Forward To British Open Title Defense

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cameron Smith’s strong play during the final nine holes of the U.S. Open Sunday could give him a boost when he defends his British Open title next month.

Smith shot 3 under on the more difficult back nine at Los Angeles Country Club to close with a 67. The Australian finished tied for fourth at 6-under 274, although he wasn’t seriously in contention.

It’s the third time in the last four majors Smith has finished in the top 10. He tied for ninth in last month’s PGA Championship.

It also equals his best finish in a U.S. Open with the other being in 2015. He had missed the cut the past two years.

“The game is feeling really good, and just probably a little bit of confidence,” Smith said. “This is kind of a big tick of the box, I think. Obviously a world-class field, world-class venue, and it got really tough on the weekend, as well.”

Smith has two LIV Golf events on his schedule before the British Open starts on July 20 at Royal Liverpool.


Scottie Scheffler’s consistency has allowed him to stay at No. 1 in the world. He finished third on Sunday and has been no worse than 12th in 13 starts this year, including two victories.

Scheffler closed with an even-par 70 to finish the U.S. Open at 7 under, three shots behind champion Wyndham Clark.

“I just felt like I wasn’t sharp enough today to move up the board. I did a good job of keeping myself in it but I just wasn’t sharp enough,” Scheffler said. “I’m obviously a little frustrated to come up short, but I put up a good fight, and Wyndham played some fantastic golf this week and so he is a well-deserving champion.”

Scheffler tied for 10th in the Masters and tied for second in the PGA Championship.


Austin Eckroat became the sixth player in U.S. Open history to post a nine-hole score of 29, a hot start to his final round that helped earn him a spot in next year’s field.

Eckroat shot a 5-under 65 and finished in a tie for 10th at 3 under. The top 10 and ties are exempt into next year’s U.S. Open. Eckroat came through sectional qualifying in Dallas this year.

The highlight of Eckroat’s round was an eagle on the par-5 eighth hole.

“Every time someone gets off to a good start at a U.S. Open from now on, they’ll put on the nine-hole scoring record, and my name will be up there. That’s pretty cool,” he said. “Obviously I’ll share it with other guys. A 28 would have been pretty sweet.”

It’s the first time there have been a pair of 29s in the same U.S. Open. Tom Kim did it during Saturday’s third round.

Neal Lancaster shot 29 for nine holes in both 1995 and ’96. Vijay Singh (2003) and Louis Oosthuizen (2015) are the others.


Min Woo Lee shot 67 on Sunday to finish tied for sixth at 5-under 275.

Lee had Friday’s lowest round with a 65 but struggled on Saturday with a 74. He played bogey-free on Sunday.

“The pre-round was a little sketchy and not the best, and then you just go out there with a good mindset,” the Australian said. “I don’t have many bogey-free rounds ever so it’s nice to do it at a major.”


Gordon Sargent made up for the disappointment of not defending his NCAA title by capturing a bigger honor.

Sargent claimed low amateur honors at the U.S. Open by nine shots. He shot a 1-under 69 on Sunday to finish at 4 over for the championship.

The 20-year old from Birmingham, Alabama — who leads the World Amateur Golf Ranking — received a silver medal from the USGA.

“You have to limit the mistakes and make bogey your worst score, which I did an OK job of,” Sargent said. “You’ve got to have all the shots, and it definitely exposes your weaknesses.”

Sargent, who will be a junior at Vanderbilt, had 11 top-10 finishes this past season, but tied for 40th at the NCAA Championship. In 2022 he became the ninth freshman to win an NCAA individual title.

He qualified for the U.S. Open by earning medalist honors at sectional qualifying in Georgia.

Sargent is the sixth amateur and first since Viktor Hovland in 2019 to have a pair of rounds in the 60s at the U.S. Open. The others were Brian Campbell (2015), Scott Verplank (1985), Lanny Wadkins (1971) and Marty Fleckman (1967).

Ben Carr (13 over), Aldrich Potgieter (15 over) and Maxwell Moldovan (17 over) were the other amateurs to make the cut.