Harold Varner reacts to his monstrous winning eagle putt at the 72nd hole photo Paul Lakatos

Cameron Smith has finished in a share of 4th place and four from the winner, Harold Varner 111 at the inaugural Asian Tour’s staging of the PIF Saudi International at the Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in the King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia.

Smith’s final round of 69 earned him US$217,000 in addition to what no doubt would have been a substantial appearance cheque, but it also continued a start to the year which included a win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, one of just three starts to date in 2022.

“It was really solid,” said Smith when asked to reflect on his play for the week. “I just struggled on the greens all week. I felt as though I was hitting good putts, and I just couldn’t get them to drop this week. A bit disappointing that I came pretty close, but it is what it is. It’s golf.

“I loved it (here). The course is great. It’s tough. When the wind gets up, it’s really tough. There’s a couple of greens out here that get a bit dicey with that wind. I loved the week. I loved the people here. It’s been great.”

Smith will take next week off before reappearing at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles.

“I guess just knowing my game’s in the right spot,” he added. “I’ll have a week off next week and recharge at home and get ready for L.A.”

Varner 111 won the event by holing a 90 feet putt at the 72nd hole after the man he defeated by a shot, Bubba Watson, had also eagled the last from 15 feet just 30 minutes earlier.

For Varner it was just his second win as a professional the only other coming on the Gold Coast of Australia when winning the 2016 Australian PGA Championship, at that stage an Australasian and European Tour event.

Varner was questioned why he had not been able to win as often as his win in Australia suggested he might.

“I can answer this so easily. I’ve never questioned my ability. The only people that question it are the people that sit right in here, and they’re like, man, he needs to be winning. But I don’t march to anyone’s beat in here. I do what I’m supposed to do, and things come.

“Life happened. My wife, my girlfriend at the time, her brother died a week after that and we were celebrating. Things that I wasn’t ready to be a man about. I can sit here and tell you like I just didn’t know how to handle it because, I don’t know, I think it’s a hard thing to deal with. Those things get in the way of just focusing on golf.

“When you’re a kid and there’s nothing else to do, it’s only golf. No, I wouldn’t change a thing. How cool is that? It hasn’t happened in a long time, and the way it happened right there, it’s frickin’ awesome. I could say something else, but I can’t say that here.”

Other Australians in the field included Brad Kennedy 14th ($US68,500), Wade Ormsby 18th (US$57,000), Lucas Herbert 21st (US$52,000) Marc Leishman 28th (US$38,000), Andrew Dodt 45th (US$24,600) and Andrew Dodt and New Zealander Daniel Hillier 55th (US$17,750 each).

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