Local favourite Webb Simpson won the Wyndham Championship at the Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina by three strokes from fellow American George McNeill.
Simpson led going into the final round and made a supremely steady start, recording pars at his first eight holes before a birdie on the 9th. His advantage was a narrow one until late birdies at the 15th and 16th afforded him a three stroke cushion over the final two holes.
“When I made the putt on 15, I asked my caddie for the first time all day, `Where do we stand?’ and he said, `We’re two ahead right now,'” Simpson said. “I knew I needed to play solid golf on the last three holes, and to birdie 16 was so huge. I knew I had a three-shot lead on 18, and as soon as I hit the ball in play, I knew it was probably over.”
George McNeill emerged as Simpson’s closest challenger. He fired a superb closing round of 64 to race up the leaderboard and to end the week as runner-up, one shot ahead of Tommy Gainey. “Two Gloves” as he’s become known looked to be totally out of the running after a poor start but four straight birdies from the 12th put him right back in the picture.
Running alongside the battle for tournament victory this week was the contest to make it to the FedEx Cup playoffs – beginning next week.
Padraig Harrington made it by the narrowest of margins. He began the week 130th in the standings with only the top 125 qualifying for the playoff tournaments. The Irishman posted a six-under-par total and that was good enough to force him into 124th position.
Ernie Els also jumped into the qualifying places. The South African who led the standings going into last year’s playoffs moved from 126th to 118th this week after finishing on eight-under.
“You don’t know in these playoffs,” Els said. “I’ve got to play good golf though. I played really good the first two days. I’d like to get that back.”
Sedgefield Country Club, North Carolina
Aug 18-21, purse $5,200,000, par 70
1 Webb Simpson (USA) 66 65 64 67 262 $936,000
2 George McNeill (USA) 65 70 66 64 265 $561,600
3 Tommy Gainey (USA) 63 65 69 69 266 $353,600
T4 Charles Howell III (USA) 69 65 66 67 267 $196,040
T4 Jerry Kelly (USA) 67 66 69 65 267 $196,040
T4 K.T. Kim (Kor) 69 67 65 66 267 $196,040
T4 Carl Pettersson (Swe) 65 70 63 69 267 $196,040
T4 Vijay Singh (Fij) 65 69 68 65 267 $196,040
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only
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