Cameron Smith, Min Woo Lee finish top five at US Open

Cameron Smith insists he is a better player than the one who became a major champion 11 months ago after recording his best finish in a US Open.

Media release via Australian Golf Media

Smith and fellow Australian Min Woo Lee produced two of the low rounds of the final round at LA Country Club, Lee’s tie for fifth his best result in a major championship.

A two-putt from just inside 60 feet on the 72nd hole clinched a maiden major for American Wyndham Clark (70) at LA Country Club yet Smith will leave California more confident he can successfully defend The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool in a month’s time.

Embed from Getty Images

A birdie at the short par-4 sixth gave Smith a brief moment of belief that he could come from seven strokes back to win a second major on Sunday’s final round, his 3-under 67 enough to earn outright fourth.

That surpassed his tie for fourth in his championship debut in 2015, the last time two Australians finished top five at the US Open (Adam Scott also T4).

Bogeys at seven and nine may have ended his championship aspirations but Smith played the daunting back nine in 3-under par before proclaiming he is playing better than a year ago when he won not only The Open but THE PLAYERS Championship and a third Australian PGA.

“It feels right there,” Smith said when asked to compare his play from a year ago.

“If anything, I think the driver feels better than what it did last year, and the irons and the short game, I think they’re right there.

“I think I’m a better player than what I was last year.

“I feel like the game has been trending in the right direction. This is kind of a big tick of the box.”

A first top-10 in a major is also a major tick in the box for Min Woo Lee.

Like Smith, Lee closed with a 3-under 67 to earn a share of fifth alongside Tommy Fleetwood (63) and Round 3 co-leader Rickie Fowler (75).

Top-25 in three majors dating back to the 2022 Masters, Lee said the key to closing out one of the best weeks of his career was a release of the pressure that he applied going into Round 3.

“Yesterday I just put too much pressure on myself and was actually pretty nervous in a way,” Lee revealed.

“My practice was so good that I kind of put a little bit of pressure on myself, and today’s was a little different. The pre-round was a little sketchy and not the best, and then you just go out there with a good mindset.

“Played amazing today, bogey-free. I don’t have many bogey-free rounds ever so it’s nice to do it at a major.

“Lots of grit on that last round, but lots of good stuff, too. Played really good, and I’m really happy.”

New Zealand’s Ryan Fox was the only other Australasian player to qualify for the weekend, closing with a 4-over 74 and a tie for 43rd.

US Open
LA Country Club (North Cse), Los Angeles, California
1             Wyndham Clark 64-67-69-70—270 $US3.6m
4             Cameron Smith  69-67-71-67—274 $990,867
T5           Min Woo Lee     69-65-74-67—275 $825,297
T43        Ryan Fox (NZ)     68-74-69-74—285 $72,689
MC         Lucas Herbert     70-75—145
MC         Cam Davis           72-79—151
MC         Adam Scott         73-72—145
MC         Jason Day            73-76—149
MC         Karl Vilips (a)      74-75—149

Australian winners of the US Open
David Graham (1981, Merion)
Geoff Ogilvy (2006, Winged Foot)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *