One of the most well-known sayings in golf is 'drive for show, putt for dough' and the winner of the 49th edition of the Players Championship, pre-event 42.041/1 chance, Cam Smith, epitomised it perfectly at Sawgrass last week.
The 28-year Aussie hit only 43% of fairways throughout the week but he gained 11.5 strokes with the putter!
Smith was the first winner of the Players to hit less than 50% of the fairways throughout the week and with 45 one-putts, he beat the record of any Players winner by seven!
As highlighted in the In-Play Blog, it was 1000.0 chance, Anirban Lahiri, who began the fourth and final round in front and the 34-year-old Indian did very little wrong.
Third round leaders don't have a great record at Sawgrass and Lahiri is the latest to fail to convert but he can hold his head up high after a superb performance.
Lahiri's only the third leader or co-leader to break 70 in the last 25 years and he's the first to do so and not win since D.A Weibring in 1985!
Matched at a low of 3.65, Lahiri battled on brilliantly all week before eventually coming up just one shot shy of Smith and one ahead of England's Paul Casey in third, who caught a ridiculously unlucky break on the 16th fairway.
Trailing Smith by two (who had hit yet another poor drive into the trees), Casey hit a belting good drive on the par five 16th hole that left him around a five iron into the green and the pre-event 110.0109/1 chance was matched at a low of 3.613/5 but bizarrely, his ball had rolled into a pitch mark.
Under the often-ridiculous rules of golf, as Casey hadn't caused the pitch mark, he was unable to gain relief. He made the tough decision to not go for the green, layed up, and made a par five and Smith matched his score. And when Smith birdied the par three 17th he went to the 18th tee with as much as a three stroke lead.
That was a considerable cushion given what had come before. Viktor Hovland looked like posting a score and he was matched at a low of 5.49/2 before he messed up the short par four 12th and Keegan Bradley was matched at a low of 4.03/1 when he tied the lead with a birdie at the 16th. But his challenge faltered when he bogeyed the 17th and messed up the last.
Matched at just 1.021/50, it looked like Smith was safely home, but the 18th is no picnic. It averaged 4.53 for the week - the highest this century - and just half an hour after Keegan Bradley had chipped out from the trees and into the drink with his second shot, Smith did exactly the same thing!
To Lahiri's credit, he witnessed Smith getting wet on 18 on the big screen before rolling his birdie putt in on 17 and the pressure was most definitely back on the Aussie at that point but he responded in style - getting up-and down for bogey with the minimum of fuss. Lahiri then needed to birdie the last to tie but after a cracking drive, he missed the green short and right with his approach and his chip-in birdie attempt was just shy of pace. After a gruelling five days, Smith was left holding the trophy.
The Masters cash keeps coming for Cam
After all the weather delays, there was a huge bias in favour of Thursday's early starters but nevertheless, Smith is the seventh Players champion in-a-row to be drawn AM-PM and that's well worth considering next year.
Smith also cemented the correlation between Sawgrass and Sedgefield Country Club given he was seventh in the Wyndham Championship there in 2017.
Both Casey and Smith have great records at Augusta so it's no surprise to see the pair have been backed for the US Masters next month.
Smith is now only 17.016/1 to win his first major there and Casey is into 44.043/1 having been matched at a high of 280.0279/1!
Pablo picks up the prize again
Over on the DP World Tour, pre-event 55.054/1 chance, Pablo Larrazabal, got the better of pre-event 40.039/1 shot, Jordan Smith, and 34.033/1 poke, Adri Arnaus, in a playoff in the MyGolfLife Open, but not before the beaten playoff protagonists were both matched at odds-on.
Arnaus was matched at just 1.84/5 before he was eliminated at the first extra hole and Smith hit a low of 1.84/5 before Larrazabal birdied the 18th for the second time to win his sixth DP World Tour title.
The DP World Tour remains in South Africa this week, with the Steyn City Championship and the PGA Tour stays in Florida for the Valspar Championship.
I'm running a bit behind after the Players but I'll try and get at least one of the previews published today and if not, they'll both be out tomorrow.
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