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Cameron Smith sealed the biggest win of his career on Monday at TPC Sawgrass with a birdie-filled display to triumph at the Players Championship.
He could even manage a nervy bogey at the last after his chip-out from the trees ran into the lake guarding the left side of the finishing hole. He hit a sublime pitch from 57 yards to a few feet to salvage a winning bogey.
The Aussie started the round two behind leader Anirban Lahiri but four consecutive birdies to start his afternoon took him to the top of the leaderboard and he managed to survive a mid-round stumble, and near-disaster down the last, to secure golf's unofficial fifth Major.
Smith was five-under-par after six holes but then dropped three shots in a row before another four consecutive birdies. After 13 holes the Aussie had made nine birdies, three bogeys and just one par.
Known as one of the best putters in the world, Smith was dynamite on the greens and brought the brutally difficult Sawgrass to its knees throughout the round. He made his tenth birdie of the day at the 'island' green 17th where he went straight at the right Sunday pin and calmly holed from within 5ft for a 2.
Smith then managed a bogey at the last to post a 66 (-6) and get into the clubhouse at 13-under-par, one clear of World No.322 Anirban Lahiri.
England's Paul Casey ended in 3rd at 11-under-par, two back of Smith, with Kevin Kisner fourth and Keegan Bradley fifth.
"It's unreal. A long, hard week and so nice to come out on top. This is one of the big ones. It's nice to get it done," Smith said, before emotionally describing how his mother and sister were in the crowd.
"I mean, they came over last week, and golf really took a back step, I guess. I hadn't seen them for so long and all I wanted to do was hang out with them. It's so cool to get a win for them."
Smith wins $3.6m in what is the largest first prize in PGA Tour history.
The 28-year-old from Brisbane is now a five-time PGA Tour winner to go with his two Australian PGA Championship victories and he is now set to move close to, or even inside, the world's top five.
The Aussie has two victories already in 2022 after taking down World No.1 Jon Rahm at Kapalua with a record-breaking score of 34-under-par at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.
Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.
Elliott is currently playing:
Driver: Honma TR20
3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max
2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi
Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58
Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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