Fri. May 27th, 2022


“I’ve knocked on the door a few times and I just felt like it was my time. I hit a lot of quality golf shots and didn’t really back down and just kept trying to make birdies,” says Cameron Smith after emotional victory at The Players in front of his family

Last Updated: 15/03/22 12:21am

Highlights of Cameron Smith's winning round as he claimed a thrilling one-shot victory at the Players Championship

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Highlights of Cameron Smith’s winning round as he claimed a thrilling one-shot victory at the Players Championship

Highlights of Cameron Smith’s winning round as he claimed a thrilling one-shot victory at the Players Championship

Cameron Smith admitted he was not surprised by his victory at The Players Championship after feeling confident in his ability ahead of the tournament.

The Australian knows the layout well at TPC Sawgrass as he lives locally and he used his knowledge during a rollercoaster final round which featured 10 birdies and four bogeys, with his four pars in his 66 equalling the fewest number of pars in a winning round on the PGA Tour over the last 40 years.

After a scare at the last, when he found water with his second shot as he made a bogey to finish on 13 under, Smith eventually finished one clear of India’s Anirban Lahiri to secure his fifth PGA Tour success.

“I felt as though one of these big ones was the next step for me,” Smith said. “I’ve knocked on the door a few times and I just felt like it was my time. I hit a lot of quality golf shots and didn’t really back down and just kept trying to make birdies.

“I felt really comfortable on the range with my irons, and I knew if I could somehow get it in the fairway, I felt it was mine to win from the start.

An emotional Smith was delighted to be crowned The Players champion in front of his family who he had not seen for two years

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An emotional Smith was delighted to be crowned The Players champion in front of his family who he had not seen for two years

An emotional Smith was delighted to be crowned The Players champion in front of his family who he had not seen for two years

“I feel really comfortable on the greens around here, so I just needed to get it on the fairway, and if I could do that, then I knew I had a red-hot chance. Was able to do that a little bit on the front nine at least, and then kind of got a bit wavy there at the end.”

Smith not a fan of the 18th

Smith appeared to be cruising to victory when a brilliant birdie at the par-three 17th took him three strokes clear, only to bogey the final hole and face an anxious wait to see whether he had done enough to win the tournament.

“The 18th is a hole for me that doesn’t really suit my eye,” Smith added. “I like to work the ball left to right off the tee. That’s where I feel comfortable, and I feel as though I can’t hit that shot down there. Just haven’t quite figured that hole out.

Smith reacts after holing what proved to be the winning putt at the 18th

Smith reacts after holing what proved to be the winning putt at the 18th

“I thought the [second] shot was actually going to come out quite soft because it was in amongst some pine straw, and it actually came out really nice. I was trying to hit it probably 30 yards less of that.

“I just thought it was going to come out tumbling and just roll out onto the fairway. Yeah, but just kind of come out nice, and it was unfortunate, but held it together and made a great up-and-down.”

Family celebrations for Smith

Smith was watched by his mother and sister, who he had not seen for more than two years because of Covid-19 restrictions, with the 28-year-old, who will now move up to world No 6, pleased to celebrate the victory in front of his family.

Smith explained what it meant to him to have his family with him as he claimed a memorable victory at The Players

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Smith explained what it meant to him to have his family with him as he claimed a memorable victory at The Players

Smith explained what it meant to him to have his family with him as he claimed a memorable victory at The Players

“It’s really cool to have them here. My main priority really was just to hang out with them and golf was second for these few weeks.

“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.”

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