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Queenslander! Cam Smith confuses American media with State of Origin reference after $5m win

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14th March, 2022
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Australian golf star Cameron Smith has scored the biggest win of his career, taking out The Players Championship in Florida in extraordinary, record-setting fashion.

Smith carded a birdie-filled and dramatic six-under-par 66 to record a steely one-shot victory at TPC Sawgrass and join a who’s who of golf greats on the honour roll.

When asked about how how he got to where he is today, Smith no doubt confused the American media by referencing rugby league.

“Never give up,” Smith said.

“I grew up watching rugby league and watching the Queenslanders come from behind and even when it got gritty they’d somehow manage to win. I think that’s kind of instilled in all of us.”

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Apart from the prestige of winning the PGA Tour’s flagship event and the game’s unofficial fifth major, the 28-year-old pocketed a cheque for $3.6 million ($A5 million) and will rocket to second in the season-long FedExCup standings.

Smith’s rollercoaster round in the tour’s wild Monday finish after a weather-marred week featured an unprecedented 10 birdies, including five in the first six holes.

But the victory wasn’t without tension and drama, with Smith finding the water on the last hole and needing a scrambling up-and-down bogey to fend off surprise third-round leader Anirban Lahiri.

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Fittingly, he delivered to complete the best putting round in the tournament’s 49-year history.

Smith’s 101 putts for the 72 holes was the fewest by any winner in almost half a century.

He joins fellow Australians Steve Elkington (1991 and 1997), Greg Norman (1994), Adam Scott (2004) and Jason Day (2016) on the famous honour board.

Other champions include major-winning legends Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

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“It’s huge. it’s gonna take a while to sink in I think,” Smith said.

The Queenslander choked up after describing the emotion of winning in front of his mother and sister, who were visiting Smith, who lives nearby at Jacksville Beach.

“I haven’t seen them in two years so it’s really cool to have them here,” he said.

“My main priority really was to hang out with them and golf was second these few weeks so it’s nice to see them and get the win for them.”

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Smith’s latest triumph follows his victory at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January, when he won with a record score of 34 under par.

The Australian No.1 is set to climb into the world’s top five for the first time ahead of next month’s Masters, the year’s first major at Augusta National.

© AAP

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