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Cameron Smith became the latest man to add his name to the pantheon of golfers to win the Players Championship. 

The 28-year-old Australian shot a seven-under 65 to win by three shots from Paul Casey and Anirban Lahiri, who had led going into Monday’s final round.

Smith endured a rollercoaster front nine of five birdies, three bogeys and a solitary par.

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He stepped up a notch on the back nine – but was made to sweat after a near-collapse on the 18th when he carved his drive into the trees on the right, then chipped out into the water.

That opened the door for 54-hole leader Lahiri, who had been three back with two to play but got back in contention with a birdie at 17.

However, Lahiri could only make a par at the last, meaning Smith won by a solitary shot. 

“It’s unreal,” Smith said.

“This is one of the big ones and it’s nice to get it done.

“I feel as though one of these big ones was the next step for me. I’ve knocked on the door a few times and I just felt like it was my time.”

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A visibly emotional Smith was accompanied by members of his family, who he had not seen for more than two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“I didn’t spend a lot of time at the golf course this week,” he added.

“It’s nice to just have them here.”

The win marked his second of the season following his victory in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.

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