Webb Simpson Wins The Players In TPC Sawgrass Runaway
- Category: Inside Golf
- Published: 2018-05-14
Webb Simpson Celebrates Winning The Players Championship. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (AP) — Webb Simpson navigated his way through a few mistakes but not too much stress to win The Players Championship.
Staked to a seven-shot lead, no one got closer than four shots of Simpson, even after a double bogey on the 18th hole when his only concern was finishing the hole at the TPC Sawgrass. He closed with a 1-over 73 for a four-shot victory, his biggest title since the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic Club.
Tiger Woods made another big run that revved up the crowd and revived hopes that he was close to winning. So did Jason Dufner, Jimmy Walker and Danny Lee. None could do enough to catch Simpson during record scoring at the final Players Championship in May.
His only big mistake didn’t even matter. Simpson’s approach to the 18th bounded across the green and into the water. He closed with a double bogey, but that only made the final margin closer.
Justin Thomas left the TPC Sawgrass as the No. 1 player in the world. He closed with a 66 to tie for 11th, more than enough to end Dustin Johnson’s 15-month reign at the top of the ranking. Thomas is the 21st player to reach No. 1 since the ranking began in 1986, and the seventh American.
Jimmy Walker, Charl Schwartzel and Xander Schauffele all shot 67 to tie for second.
Woods ran off six birdies through 12 holes in the final round. He was tied for second at one point, still four shots behind, but that was as close he got. Woods made a soft bogey on the 14th hole when he missed the green with a sand wedge, and was well short of the island green in making double bogey on No. 17. He shot 69 and tied for 11th.
Simpson tied the course record with a 63 in the second round when he seized control — even with a double bogey from the water on the 17th — and he tied Greg Norman’s 54-hole record from 1994 at 19-under 197. Simpson set a record for the largest margin through three rounds. Brooks Koepka became the eighth player with a 63 on Sunday, which featured an albatross 2 on the par-5 16th.
Sipmson earned $1.98 million. He had missed the cut in four of his previous eight appearances at TPC Sawgrass and had gone 107 starts on the PGA Tour since winning Las Vegas toward the end of 2013.