Cameron Smith Wins The Players Championship

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TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL — March 15, 2022

Cameron Smith began the final round of the 2022 Players Championship three strokes out of the lead and took full advantage of the situation. Smith birdied five of the first six holes to take over the lead at 12-under-par.

Cameron Smith / Photo Credit Getty Images

Third-round leader Anirban Lahiri, playing in the group directly behind Smith, must have been shell-shocked as he could only muster one birdie on the first seven holes. He watched his lead slip away even after rolling in a birdie putt on the fourth hole to climb back within one stroke of the lead. Then things got crazy.

Smith closed out his front nine with bogies on the seventh, eighth, and ninth holes, falling back to nine-under-par. Lahiri double-bogeyed the eighth and again fell behind Smith. However, got back to all square with Smith by carding a birdie on the ninth to close out the front side.

The Final Nine Holes

After the turn, Smith found his stroke and made birdies on the first four holes of the back nine to get to 13-under-par. Lahiri scored an eagle on the par-five 11th but still trailed Smith by two strokes as they headed down the stretch.

Lahiri at The TPC Sawgrass / Photo Credit Getty Images

Smith came to the dangerous island green, the 17th, just needing to avoid the water. With the pin just 10 feet from the water to the right of the green, all Smith needed to do was aim at the center of the green and take a safe two-putt par. He pushed his tee shot to the right. With a little help from the wind, his wedge shot landed just right and four feet behind the cup. Safe and close, but flirting with the water was not what Smith had in mind from the tee.

The Australian professional calmly walked to the green and sank the putt to stretch his lead to three strokes heading to the final hole. Smith drove right off the tee and found the trees, avoiding the water the guards the left side of the 18th hole.

Lahiri, realizing time was running out to make a charge, also made birdie on the 17th. Then the improbable happened. With an opening between the trees, Smith just needed to get the ball back into the fairway and fly his third shot safely on the green. He hit the punch-out too hard and his ball rolled into the water on the opposite side of the fairway.

With Lahiri watching from the tee, Smith took his penalty drop and was hitting his fourth stroke on the par-four final hole. He stuck it just a couple of feet from the pin. Smith made the putt but had still left the door open if Lahiri could walk through it.

Needing a birdie to tie and send the tournament to extra holes, Lahiri hit a monster drive down the center of the fairway on 18. Unfortunately, his iron shot came up just short of the green and he faced a must make chip shot to earn the tie. Lahiri rolled it up to within inches of the hole, but it was not going to find the bottom of the cup.

PGA Tour Photo

Thanks to the mistake on the 17th tee that allowed Smith to land close enough to make birdie, it was that stroke that earned him the trophy. The winner pocketed the largest purse of his career, a cool $3.6 million. Lahiri can console himself with the second-place share, $2.18 million of the total $20 million purse.

Final Results of The Players Championship from TPC Sawgrass

Position Player Name Today To Par R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1 Cameron Smith -6 -13 69 71 69 66 275
2 Anirban Lahiri -3 -12 67 73 67 69 276
3 Paul Casey -3 -11 70 69 69 69 277
4 Kevin Kisner -4 -10 68 74 68 68 278
5 Keegan Bradley -4 -9 72 71 68 68 279
T6 Harold Varner III -2 -8 69 69 72 70 280
T6 Russell Knox -2 -8 71 71 68 70 280
T6 Doug Ghim E -8 70 70 68 72 280
T9 Sepp Straka -5 -7 69 74 71 67 281
T9 Adam Hadwin -5 -7 72 72 70 67 281
T9 Viktor Hovland -3 -7 71 73 68 69 281
T9 Dustin Johnson -9 -7 69 73 76 63 281
T13 Russell Henley -4 -6 69 73 72 68 282
T13 Taylor Pendrith -3 -6 68 71 74 69 282
T13 Keith Mitchell -3 -6 67 72 74 69 282
T13 Erik van Rooyen -2 -6 71 67 74 70 282
T13 Daniel Berger -2 -6 67 75 70 70 282
T13 Max Homa -6 -6 72 73 71 66 282
T13 Tyrrell Hatton -2 -6 70 73 69 70 282
T13 Brendan Steele -1 -6 73 69 69 71 282
T13 Shane Lowry E -6 73 70 67 72 282
T22 Joaquin Niemann -2 -5 67 73 73 70 283
T22 Patton Kizzire -5 -5 68 76 72 67 283
T22 Tommy Fleetwood E -5 66 73 72 72 283
T22 Kevin Streelman 1 -5 73 71 66 73 283
T26 Corey Conners -2 -4 70 69 75 70 284
T26 Doc Redman -1 -4 71 70 72 71 284
T26 Sergio Garcia -1 -4 71 71 71 71 284
T26 Alex Noren -3 -4 69 75 71 69 284
T26 Patrick Reed 1 -4 73 70 68 73 284
T26 Will Zalatoris 2 -4 69 71 70 74 284
T26 Sam Burns 4 -4 68 69 71 76 284
T33 Abraham Ancer E -3 68 71 74 72 285
T33 Ian Poulter -1 -3 73 70 71 71 285
T33 Justin Thomas E -3 72 69 72 72 285
T33 Seamus Power -2 -3 71 71 73 70 285
T33 Joel Dahmen 1 -3 70 71 71 73 285
T33 Pat Perez -4 -3 70 72 75 68 285
T33 Tom Hoge 4 -3 66 71 72 76 285
T33 Rory McIlroy -6 -3 73 73 73 66 285
T33 Sebastián Muñoz 5 -3 70 73 65 77 285
T42 Kramer Hickok 1 -2 67 75 71 73 286
T42 Scott Stallings 3 -2 71 75 65 75 286
T42 Francesco Molinari 2 -2 70 73 69 74 286
T42 Louis Oosthuizen 4 -2 69 72 69 76 286
T46 Troy Merritt -1 -1 74 71 71 71 287
T46 Maverick McNealy -1 -1 70 76 70 71 287
T46 Adam Long -2 -1 71 71 75 70 287
T46 Peter Malnati -2 -1 70 75 72 70 287
T50 Brice Garnett -1 E 67 76 74 71 288
T50 Dylan Frittelli -2 E 73 72 73 70 288
T50 Aaron Wise -3 E 71 74 74 69 288
T53 Jason Kokrak 2 1 72 72 71 74 289
T53 Branden Grace 1 1 71 72 73 73 289
T55 Jimmy Walker 4 2 70 73 71 76 290
T55 Sungjae Im 4 2 72 72 70 76 290
T55 Jon Rahm 5 2 69 72 72 77 290
T55 Scottie Scheffler 4 2 70 76 68 76 290
T55 K.H. Lee -1 2 70 73 76 71 290
T60 Sam Ryder 3 3 69 74 73 75 291
T60 Michael Thompson E 3 72 73 74 72 291
T60 Denny McCarthy E 3 70 76 73 72 291
T63 Hank Lebioda 6 4 72 70 72 78 292
T63 Chesson Hadley 5 4 70 74 71 77 292
T63 Brian Harman 3 4 68 74 75 75 292
T66 Hayden Buckley 2 5 72 71 76 74 293
T66 Nick Watney E 5 75 71 75 72 293
T68 Lucas Herbert 4 7 70 74 75 76 295
T68 Bubba Watson 4 7 73 68 78 76 295
70 Lee Hodges 4 9 72 74 75 76 297