Webb Simpson stood up to the pressure of leading one of the season’s strongest tournaments as he completed an impressive four-shot win at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
After building a seven-shot lead after 54 holes, the American’s lead was cut to four shots when he bogeyed the 10th, but with birdies at 11 and 16 he reached the final hole with a six-shot advantage, allowing the 32-year-old to double bogey the par four and still enjoy a comfortable winning margin, coasting to victory with a one-over-par 73 and a four-round total of 18 under.
The race for second was shared by Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele, all of whom shot 67s to finish on 14 under. Tiger Woods moved into a share of second with his sixth birdie of the day at the 12th, before he slipped back to tied 11th with dropped shots at 14 and 17.
Further down the leaderboard, Tommy Fleetwood celebrated his second appearance at Sawgrass with a tie for seventh after he carded a 68 to reach 12 under, with last year’s runner-up Ian Poulter sharing 11thplace with Woods after a closing 69.
Simpson set up his win with opening rounds of 66 and 63. The latter, which equalled the course record, could have been even better were it not for visit to the water on the notorious par-3 17th, which cost him two shots, and any hopes of breaking the magic 60. A solid third round 68 followed, setting up the 2012 US Open champion the seven-shot lead which ultimately proved too much for his rivals to pull back.
Following the divvying up of the place prize money there was a change at the top of the world rankings, as Justin Thomas closed with a 66 to finish tied for 11th, good enough to end Dustin Johnson’s 64-week reign at the top.
|T7||USA||Harold Varner III||-12||–||71||67||70||68||276|