by Justin Falconer at Royal Portrush
Cam Smith on Sunday during the 2019 Open.
He supported the hope of all Australians all weekend and Cam Smith fought to the bitterly cold end in The Open.
The worst conditions of the week arrived and remained at Royal Portrush for Sunday's final round, with Smith finishing a 5-over-76 at 1-under for the week in a share of 20.
The previous two appearances of the rising star last year resulted in a missed stunner and a 78th victory, but at only 25 Smith has now included the top 20s in three of the game's four majors
In The Open & # 39; s first trip back to Ireland in 68 years, it was a local hero who lifted the Claret Jug.
Crowdy favorite Shane Lowry muscular play partner and main challenger Tommy Fleetwood with a Sunday 72 to win with six shots at 15-under.
There was almost no hope of replicating Saturday's ball-striking performance in Sunday's wild weather.
Smith clambered admirably and with birdie on the 10th he had only given up one beat for the round.
Another shot down at 12 preceded three new "good bogeys" from the 15th but Smith was optimistic after his best Open-finish in his third attempt
"That was probably something I haven't experienced in a while," said Smith. "It was just brutal."
& # 39; It seemed like you couldn't control your ball, no matter how well you hit or how well you thought you would read. It was just everywhere.
"It would have been nice to hit a few more putts during the week and be that way, but it is what it is."
"This was probably my favorite to watch grow up, not knowing how cruel it could be here.
"Every tournament, no matter what it is, to appear yesterday and be in the third final group and give it a pretty good game there, it all just learns."
Like a US six-digit paycheck, Smith will earn some much-needed points on the Presidential Cup rankings as they are updated this week.
The 25-year-old is desperate to automatically qualify for the Ernie Els international team when the top eight is completed after the FedEx Cup matches of the PGA Tour.
Smith hopes that he does not have to be one of the South African captains' picks to hit his ticket to Royal Melbourne, although he has made friends with Els in recent months.
"That's my goal since the beginning of the year to join that team," said Smith.
"I had a good run when they started taking the rankings and then fell through the middle there. But I feel like my game is coming."
"Marc and I actually played with Ernie during the Memorial Tournament, so we did it and we didn't.
"I don't know Ernie too badly now, so we just have a general chat, not so much about golf."
Smith entered the week on the back of a piece of golf that he described as being far from his best.
But on Monday afternoon he had fallen in love with Royal Portrush and the North Coast left layout has brought Cam to a point where he is ready to attack the business end of the season.
"I suspect you never know what golf can throw at you," said Smith.
"Sometimes you just have to linger, even when things go wrong.
"With my past results at this tournament, it is definitely a good thing to be there at the weekend, I think my game goes back to where it should be.
The show continues for Smith as he goes directly to Memphis for the next stop on the PGA Tour calendar.
He will also play the Wyndham Championship hoping to climb the FedEx Cup stand and qualify for the Playoffs.
"Hopefully next week in Memphis, a bit of stress off. No cut, 78 boys," said Smith, "hopefully I can go there and play like I did this week."