Gary Woodland of the USA played a rollercoaster final round of 67 to win the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook by a single shot from his countryman Webb Simpson. It was his first PGA Tour victory.
Woodland began the day two adrift of Justin Rose but the Englishman played himself out of the running as he made four straight bogeys around the turn. He finished up with a three-over-par 74 and dropped back into a tie for fifth.
Woodland played the front nine solidly, picking up two birdies and with no dropped shots. Things really started to get interesting after the turn though. The former basketball player made a birdie at the 10th before giving the shot straight back at the next. He then reeled off three consecutive birdies, bogeyed the 15th and 16th then played a great tee shot at the par-3 17th to set up yet another birdie.
In fact, the only par Woodland made on the back nine was on the 18th hole and that was a fight. He played his second through the green and faced a treacherous up-and-down. He got his pitch within 15 feet of the cup then rolled in the putt to post a clubhouse total of 15-under-par that would not be matched. Woodland had just 23 putts in his final round.
“It was the putter that helped me today,” he said. “Luckily it won me a golf tournament.”
Webb Simpson had looked to be in a strong position to secure his first PGA Tour title as he reached the turn at 15-under-par. Simpson kept his hopes alive with an excellent sand save at the 17th to remain in a tie for the lead but a bogey at the closing hole meant the championship went to Woodland who earned a start at the US Masters with the win.
World Number 1 Martin Kaymer closed with a 69 to finish the week in a tie for 20th.
Innisbrook, Tampa Bay, Florida
Mar 17-20, purse $5,500,000, par 71
1 Gary Woodland (USA) 67 68 67 67 269 $990,000
2 Webb Simpson (USA) 67 67 67 69 270 $594,000
3 Scott Stallings (USA) 66 70 66 70 272 $374,000
4 Brandt Snedeker (USA) 72 64 67 70 273 $264,000
T5 Chris Couch (USA) 69 64 70 71 274 $180,125
T5 Brendon de Jonge (RSA) 69 66 66 73 274 $180,125
T5 Martin Laird (Sco) 66 70 68 70 274 $180,125
T5 Justin Rose (Eng) 70 65 65 74 274 $180,125
T5 Roland Thatcher (USA) 68 67 69 70 274 $180,125
T5 Marc Turnesa (USA) 68 67 73 67 274 $180,125
Note: Player in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only