Smith joins Aussie greats with hard-fought Players win

Cameron Smith has won the biggest event of his career and a massive $US3.6 million winner’s cheque when he took out the rain-delayed Players Championship in Florida this morning.

The 28-year-old Australian shot a final-round 66 to win the US PGA Tour’s flagship event at TPC Sawgrass by a stroke over India’s Anirban Lahiri, joining Adam Scott (2004), Greg Norman (1994), Jason Day (2016) and Steve Elkington (1991 & 1997) amongst the Aussies to win this event.

Smith’s win was not without drama as he made a big charge in the final round to get to 7-under for the round, coming to the last, leading by three.

An errant tee shot into the pine needles on the right-hand side at the 18th and an inexplicable second shot into the water on the other side of the fairway had fans on the edge of their seats before his trademark short game saved him again with a superb bogey five on the par-four 18th.

Lahiri, who had led going into the final round, had a chance to send the tournament to a playoff but missed his 40-foot birdie putt at the last. Smith’s putting meanwhile was simply superb with 42 one-putts, four more than any other previous winner of the Players Championship, and testament to his skill with the flat stick.

Cameron Smith Cameron Smith (Credit: PGA Tour)

“It’s huge, it’s going to take a while to sink in,” said Smith, who is anticipated to become the new world’s number six following the win.

“That (putting) was probably the key today. It’s a strength but sometimes I lean on it too much. It’s great to see them go in.”

“Obviously lots of Australians have won here, lots of great Australian golfers have won here, you know, but the best that have ever lived have won here, as well. So it’s pretty cool to have the name on the same trophy as them.”

WITB: Cameron Smith

  • Titleist Pro V1x Golf Ball
  • Titleist TSi3 Driver (10º)
  • Titleist TSi2 3W (15º)
  • Titleist TS2 7W (18º)
  • Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi (3)
  • Titleist T100 Black (5-9)
  • Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (46º, 52º, 56º, 60º)
  • Scotty Cameron 009M Prototype Putter

It is Smith’s fifth win on the US PGA Tour and his second victory in five starts this year, having also won the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

So far this season Smith has played in seven PGA Tour events recording two wins and three top-10 results from six cuts.

Lucas Herbert was the next best Australian and the only other Aussie to make the cut finishing in a share of 68th position.

The 40th anniversary of the first Players Championship held at the iconic purpose-built Stadium Course will live long in the memory. The first round alone took 54 hours to complete as 120mm of rain deluged the course with thunderstorms, forcing fans to be evacuated from the course on Thursday and Friday.

And the strong winds that blew away the storms then wreaked havoc, with 35mph gusts leading to high scoring for those unfortunate enough to be out on course including Aussies Jason Day (69-78), Cam Davis (71-76) and Marc Leishman (69-78), who all missed the weekend. Adam Scott and Matt Jones also missed the cut.

It was the first Monday finish at the Players Championship since Fred Funk won the title in 2005.