PONTE VEDRA BEACH – North Carolina got a Players championship golf title from a scorched Earth third round by Webb Simpson who blasted the star-studded field with a record-tying 63 that threw down …
PONTE VEDRA BEACH – North Carolina got a Players championship golf title from a scorched Earth third round by Webb Simpson who blasted the star-studded field with a record-tying 63 that threw down a seven to 10 stroke lead on the rest of the field, then cruised to victory in the four-day tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.
“Harder than I thought,” Simpson said, who shot a one over par 73 in the final round that kept his lead in tact while fending off challenges as close as four strokes for the final round. “I kept reminding myself today that the only thing that matters is the next shot. It’s easy to do on Thursday; it’s a lot harder to do today.”
Simpson, 32, finished with a total score of 270, 18 under par, with three golfers behind him at 14-under; Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, Jimmy Walker of Oklahoma and Xander Schauffele, three hardly recognizable names, nonetheless, with previous winner Jason Day the closest at a 13-under 275. Not making the Friday night cut were names like Rory McIlroy, Ricky Fowler, Phil Mickelson and while 2017 champion Si Woo Kim finished tied for 63 with a 285 total with just one round better than par.
“I feel like this is my first win, like the last one in Greenville in 2011,” said Simpson, previously ranked 41st. “I never doubted myself, but that ‘s a long time; four years, to go without a win. To come here against this field and put up the numbers on the first three rounds; I’m so happy.”
In one of the more epic comeback attempts to steal Simpson’s enormous lead, Tiger Woods shocked the field with a 14-under run on the first 12 holes as the Woods’ crowds to thousands for a classic showdown at the historic 17th hole only to have Woods sink his tee shot short and in the lake. Woods went out in 32 and got to 14-under with his birdie at the 12th hole. He was in second, breathing down the neck of the leader Simpson
“I hit it so good,” Woods said. “I had control of it from tee to green; I made some putts; I felt good on basically every facet of the game, and it’s weird; not to really mishit a shot today and only shoot 3-under par is just weird, because I played much better than that.”
Woods would struggle through the final five holes at 4-over to sink to 11th place with a 69; four shots off Simpson torrid pace.
Simpson earned $1.98 million for his win with the trio in second taking home $821,333 apiece. Past champion Sergio Garcia, in 70th place, earned $22,000.