Bad Weather Puts A Damper on Playtime
The Players had a Monday finish for the first time in 17 years following a series of play suspensions and weather delays. During the first round on Thursday, storms caused a four-hour delay that caused a shortened opening day. Friday’s weather was even worse, leaving 47 players on the course who have not completed their respective first rounds after play got suspended at 11:15 a.m.
Summary of weather and delays/suspensions for the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship pic.twitter.com/fdQGTnVBU4
— PGA TOUR Communications (@PGATOURComms) March 11, 2022
Due to these conditions, the top of the leaderboard was dominated by players from the early-late wave, including Sam Burns and Tom Hoge. Of the top 34 players through two rounds, 25 came from the early-late wave. The late-early wave had to restart their opening rounds in the worst of the week’s conditions Saturday morning when winds gusted to 35 mph in the wake of a cold front. They then had to start Round 2 in increasingly frigid conditions.
Second round ☑️
— THE PLAYERS (@THEPLAYERSChamp) March 13, 2022
Recap Time – Smith Takes The Players
The Australian native Smith one-putted eight of his last nine holes, including a birdie on the par-3 17th and a 3-foot bogey putt after hitting into the water on the 18th. This ultimately gave him a 6-under 66 for a one-shot victory over Anirban Lahiri.
— New York Post (@nypost) March 15, 2022
Leading by two on the 17th, Smith split the difference in the 12 feet that separated the flag from the water. The ball ended up 4 feet away and he made his record-tying 10th birdie of the round.
Smith then punched out from the pine straw right of the 18th fairway all the way into the water. After a penalty drop, his 60-yard wedge spun next to the hole to three feet for a bogey.
Lahiri birdied the 17th and needed one more to force a playoff. He came up short of the green and ended up closing with a 69.
Meanwhile, Paul Casey was the sufferer of bad luck. He was two shots behind and in the same group as Smith when he looked to have a big advantage on the par-5 16th. Smith duck-hooked his tee shot into the pines. Casey drilled his drive down the middle. But the ball took one last roll in the rain-soaked fairway, right into another player’s pitch mark. Instead of a mid-iron into the par 5, he had to punch it out short. After getting relief from a sprinkler head near the green, Smith punched out to the fairway and matched the par.
Kevin Kisner birdied three of his last four holes for a 68 to finish alone in fourth.
Keegan Bradley was among four players who had a final chance at the end. He took double bogey on the 18th when his shot from the trees plopped into the water. Bradley shot 68 and finished fifth.
Smith Claims PGA Tour’s Biggest Payout
Cameron Smith was the champion, winning for the second time this year, and the fifth time in his PGA Tour career. He carded a six-under 66 to finish 13-under and finished one shot ahead of Lahiri. Speechless, Smith picked up $3.6 million from the $20 million purse, one of the biggest purses ever for a golf tournament. He moved to No. 6 in the world.
As for celebration, Smith celebrated his win with his mother and sister, who flew in from Australia and hasn’t seen him in two years.
"Queenslanders are tough.”
Cameron Smith's fierce determination can be traced back to his working-class roots.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 15, 2022
Lahiri ended the tournament at 12-under 276 and picked up $2.18 for his second-place finish, Paul Casey finished third at 11-under par, while Kevin Kisner came in fourth at 10-under 278.