No joy for Lowry and Power as Smith wins Players Monday marathon

by Ronan MacNamara  

Shane Lowry by Golffile

Shane Lowry and Seamus Power endured disappointing final days at the marathon Players Championship as Cameron Smith came out on top in a thrilling final day at TPC Sawgrass.

Lowry was only three shots adrift heading into the final 18 on Monday afternoon but two bogeys in his first six holes put paid to his chances of ending his 32-month winless drought.

The Clara native who had a hole-in-one at the 17th on Sunday briefly rallied with three birdies in four holes around the turn but it was too little too late and he dropped a shot on the last to sign for a level-par 72 and a six-under total to share 13th place.

Smith claimed a dramatic win to take the title and the $3.6 million after he produced a putting clinic to win by one on thirteen-under after a final round 66.

Smith one-putted eight of his last nine holes to win.

The Aussie teed off in the final round two shots behind India’s Anirban Lahiri but roared to the summit in electrifying fashion opening with four birdies in as many holes. A birdie at the 6th extended his advantage before he three straight bogeys sent him tumbling out of the lead at the turn.

The mullet man began his inward nine in the same vein as the front nine carding four successive birdies to move to thirteen-under and in the lead by two.

A sensational wedge to 17 set up what appeared to be the clinching birdie before he found the water with his second shot on the 18th after driving out of position.

A remarkable up and down from 58 yards for bogey was enough to edge Lahiri by one and Paul Casey by two after the Englishman finished with six straight pars after climbing into a share of the lead after a birdie on the 12th.

The man from down under came out on top but Lowry was the ace in the pack.

Seamus Power carded three double-bogeys in his last 36 holes and that ultimately told the story in what was a disappointing finish to his Players Championship.

The West Waterford native was forced to settle for a two-under 70 but he will rue a double-bogey on 17 after finding water off the tee, like so many before and after him.

Until that point Power had started off brilliantly, climbing to five-under after four birdies in his first six holes as he played the course from back to front.

In the end he shared 33rd place with Rory McIlroy, the tournament’s forgotten man who fired a flawless round of 66 to finish on three-under.

Playing with a slight niggle in his elbow, Power will give Thursday’s Valspar Championship a miss to recharge and focus on securing his spot at the Masters at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play next week.

Despite moving up two places to 48th in the Official World Golf Rankings Power was downbeat after playing all five days this week.

“I played poorly all week and hit a lot of bad shots,” said a frustrate Power. “I didn’t really do anything well, to be honest. I didn’t really make a lot of putts and hit a lot of loose shots, and that kind of adds up around here.

“You don’t get away with too many loose shots here with the breeze and rough up, maybe not today but the last couple of days.”

The 34-year-old is now in nervy territory with Augusta National so close yet his maiden Masters debut could be snatched away from him in the blink of an eye depending on results at the Valspar and how he performs next week in Texas.

Power who missed three cuts in a row before The Players is hoping some rest will freshen him up for one more big performance at Austin Country Club.

“It’s not something I am concerned about, to be honest. People keep asking me about it. People were disappointed how I played the last couple of weeks, and it hasn’t been great.

“But I’m going to rest for the next couple of days because my elbow has been hurting again and then get back into some practice and go from there.”

If next year’s Ryder Cup in Rome doesn’t have a Sunday singles match between Viktor Hovland and Daniel Berger then the whole contest will have been a waste of time.

After playing partner Daniel Berger found the water on 16, Hovland took issue with where he wanted to drop the ball from and intervened. The Norwegian was adamant that Berger got his line of entry wrong and wanted to take an incorrect drop closer to the hole.

In front of a buoyant American crowd, the European stuck to his guns after a rules official advised the pair and Joel Dahmen to come to an agreement themselves.

 “Daniel’s game is great, and I have massive respect for him as a player. But, at the end of the day, we’ve got to protect the field and protect all the other guys.

“It’s not a fun conversation, but when you strongly believe in something, you kind of have to stand your ground.

“It ended up being somewhat of a compromise. He dropped a little bit further up than Joel [Dahmen] and I kind of thought, but we ended up making a compromise, and that’s where he hit it from.

“It's not like we're trying to dog on Daniel and trying to screw him over. It's just, that's what we believe, and he obviously felt strongly the other way. It's just what it is. I'm not accusing him of anything. The golf ball is in the air for a couple seconds, so it's tough to exactly pinpoint where it crossed and not. But Joel and I saw it in one way and he saw it differently.”




Join over 61,000 Irish golfers and get golf's biggest stories first every day


Other news