He started out three behind, but two birdies took him to eight under and into a share of the lead with the young Korean, Si Woo Kim.
Si Woo Kim braved steady winds at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday to become the youngest Players Championship victor in history.
Si Woo Kim carded a bogey-free final round of 69 to become the youngest ever victor of The Players Championship - at just 21 years old.
Now, courtesy of a bogey-free 69 on Sunday which secured a three-stroke win at 10 under par, Kim has collected $1.89m (£1.47m) and earned a batch of exemptions which will elevate his career.
Events of the last month mean Ian Poulter should not be disconsolate at falling short at The Players Championship.
" I wish I had taken a couple of decent opportunities there at the end, it definitely could have been lower, but if you asked me if I'd have taken 71 before teeing off today I would have for sure".
He became the third worldwide Players champion in four years and led seven global players among the top-10. He's also one of only a handful of PGA Tour players in the last quarter century with multiple wins before turning 22.
Kim saw that lack of pressure and let the holes peter out.
"I didn't expect that I could be the champion of this tournament at this young age", Kim told a news conference.
He never trailed after making a 25-foot birdie putt on the seventh hole.
"I was nervous out there all day", said Poulter.
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"He's gone clean out there today, which is extremely impressive under that pressure", Poulter said. So did Kyle Stanley. Holmes plummeted 40 spots to a tie for 41st at 3-over par.
Not only did Kim not make a bogey in the final round, he also lead the field in scrambling, getting it up and down from everywhere.
One hole later he all but sealed the victory with a 3-wood that split the fairway on the dogleg left around the lake at the finish. 13, 14 and 15 to fall out of contention. Four golfers (including Scott) tied for sixth place at five under. He hit too shots into the water on the 17th and make a quintuple-bogey 8, then finished with a double bogey to close with an 84, the worst finish by a 54-hole leader at The Players.
The bogey was only his second over the final 46 holes of the tournament. Friday's 36-hole cut at 2-over 146 was the highest at The Players since 2008.
Adam Scott cruised up the leaderboard with a four-under 32 on the back nine. In his 19 starts since October, he had missed the cut seven times and withdrawn from a further four tournaments because of a lingering back injury.
World number one Dustin Johnson remained the early clubhouse leader on two under par, although he was set to finish outside the top three for just the third time this season.
But latching on with coach Sean Foley has resulted in a smoother swing that has produced less stress on his back and The Players might be a turning point. And he wasn't surprised that Kim held onto the lead down the stretch.
An opening 69 raised his hopes.
"I know he hit a couple of unbelievable shots yesterday to get himself out of trouble, driver off the deck on 14 was a pretty impressive shot".
"To have two, three weeks ago been in a position where I wasn't playing THE PLAYERS and potentially didn't have a card to play", Poulter said, "and was looking to write nice letters to Jack for Memorial and all of those great tournaments that I'd like to play in - things change pretty quick with good golf, and that's what I've done this week. And never once did he look flustered at all".