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Cameron Smith wins Players Championship for biggest victory of his career

Cameron Smith wins Players Championship for biggest victory of his career

Australia’s Cameron Smith has recorded the biggest win of his career, taking out the Players Championship in Florida, to collect the A$5 million first prize, the biggest individual purse in golf history.

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It’s his second win in five starts this year, having also won the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Smith shot a final round 66 to finish at 13-under, one clear of India’s Anirban Lahiri.

The win was sealed with a remarkable tee shot at the iconic 17th hole, a par-three with an island green that has brought many undone over the years.

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Smith hit a 9-iron to a metre, although he later confirmed he was aiming for the middle of the green and pushed it right, leaving him with a straightforward birdie putt.



“I’d be lying if I didn’t push it a little bit, I was trying to hit it over the bunker and hold it up against the wind,” he conceded after the round.

“The wind didn’t really do much, maybe held it up right at the end and it was just awesome.”

There was one final twist however, when Smith found the water with his second shot at 18, although a delightful wedge set up a short putt to save bogey.

In a remarkable round of contrasting fortunes, Smith birdied his first four holes, as well as the 6th, to vault up the leaderboard, only to give the shots back with bogeys at the 7th, 8th and 9th holes.

Cameron Smith made this par save at the 14th hole during the final round of the Players Championship.

He opened the back nine in the same fashion, birdieing 10, 11, 12 and 13, before making clutch par saves at 14 and 15.

In an extraordinary display, he had eight one putts in his last nine holes.

However, standing on the par-five 16th tee with a two shot lead, Smith snap hooked his ball into the pine straw, leaving him with no choice but to punch back out onto fairway. He found the green with his third shot, and almost holed the 15 metre putt for birdie.

Meanwhile, his rivals were finding trouble, in some cases through no fault of their own. Englishman Paul Casey, playing with Smith, had an opportunity to capitalise on the Australian’s troubles at the 16th, only to find his tee shot, which split the fairway, coming to rest in a ball mark left by a previous player.

Casey had no chance of going at the pin, which was dangerously close to the water, instead forced to lay up, from where he could only make par.

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Australia’s Cameron Smith in action during the final round of the Players Championship in Florida. (Getty)

Former US PGA champion Keegan Bradley appeared likely to post 11-under, putting some pressure on Smith in the closing holes, but Bradley’s tee shot at 18 went way right, and he pulled his punch shot into the water.

Smith is the fifth Australian to win the tournament, joining Steve Elkington (1991 & 1997), Greg Norman (1994), Adam Scott (2004) and Jason Day (2016).

Final scores:

275 – Cameron Smith

276 – Anirban Lahiri

277 – Paul Casey

278 – Kevin Kisner

279 – Keegan Bradley

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