Webb Simpson held his nerve to win The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass by four shots from Charl Schwartzel, Xander Schauffele and Jimmy Walker.
Webb Simpson wins The Players Championship
Webb Simpson began the final round of The Players Championship with a record seven-shot lead and he held off the pack at TPC Sawgrass to claim the title and a winner’s cheque for almost $2,000,000.
Simpson had to cope with the pressure on Sunday of carrying a seven-stroke advantage into the final day and then the roars feeding back from Tiger Woods, four groups in front. He managed to keep his cool though and his lead was never reduced to fewer than four strokes. After he successfully found the island green on the treacherous par-3 17th, he carried a six-shot lead to the final hole. He could afford to double bogey the last and still win by four.
“It was harder than I thought. There’s so much noise in front of us with Tiger, and you wonder what everybody is doing, he said. “Once I got to 17 and the ball was on the green, internally I was celebrating.”
It was Simpson’s first win on the PGA Tour since the 2013 Shriners and the first for the 2012 U.S. Open champ since the putting anchoring ban came into force and he had to change his technique.
Tiger Woods had made the cut on the number but bounced back with a superb 65 on Saturday. He looked like he might threaten Simpson’s lead, making six birdies through his first 12 holes to get within four strokes. But he then dropped a stroke on the 14th and missed the island green on 17 and made double. He ended up in a tie for 11th.
“I hit the ball better today than I did yesterday, and I obviously didn’t end up with the score I needed to,” Woods said.
Justin Thomas was tied with Woods in 11th place but had reason to celebrate on Sunday evening. He earned more than enough points to overtake Dustin Johnson and move to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking. He is only the 21st player to reach that position since the rankings were established in 1986.
Charl Schwartzel, Xander Schauffele and Jimmy Walker tied for second place with Jason Day and Jason Dufner tied for fifth. England’s Tommy Fleetwood enjoyed another good week Stateside, he was tied for seventh place.
The Players Championship
TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Purse: $11,000,000 Par: 72
1 Webb Simpson (USA) 66 63 68 73 $1,980,000
T2 Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 68 66 73 67 $821,333
T2 Xander Schauffele (USA) 68 68 71 67 $821,333
T2 Jimmy Walker (USA) 69 68 70 67 $821,333
T5 Jason Day (Aus) 69 67 71 68 $418,000
T5 Jason Dufner (USA) 72 69 66 68 $418,000
T7 Keegan Bradley (USA) 69 69 72 66 $331,375
T7 Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 69 71 68 68 $331,375
T7 Danny Lee (NZ) 68 66 70 72 $331,375
T7 Harold Varner III (USA) 71 67 70 68 $331,375
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage