Simpson Celebrates at the Players Championship
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida – Webb Simpson brought his complete “A Game” to the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass (for the first 3 rounds anyway), decimating the strongest field in golf – winning the 2018 edition of the Players Championship.
Tied for the lead after an opening round 66, Simpson built the foundation of his rout with a near flawless Friday 63 (tying the course record). With 6 birdies in a row, and a potential 59 on the table with two holes remaining, a watery tee shot on the par 3 seventeenth ended the run. Pete Dye’s masterful design can sap the confidence of even the best players in the world in a nanosecond, but Simpson shot 68 on Saturday and began Sunday with a 7 shot lead. An uneventful final round 73 included a double bogey at the last, but with a six shot lead at the time, there was enough cushion to still win by 4 shots over Charl Schwartzel, Xander Schauffele and Jimmy Walker.
A stacked group of challengers could never really make a threat, but for awhile Tiger Woods did get to within four shots and looked every bit of the 14-time major champion that we had watched for so long. He had every shot in the repertoire from his prime: 350 yard bombed drives, the 280 yard bullet stinger and he rolled the ball as well as we’ve seen this year. In fact, his Saturday, 65 was his lowest score ever at TPC Sawgrass. It is becoming clear that Woods might just have another magical run left in him.
“It’s hard not to future cast and start thinking about 7 p.m and what might happen,” Simpson said. “But you do your best to not stay in that place, and 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.”
Brooks Koepka tied the course record Sunday with a final round 63.
After finishing tied for 11th (at 11 under par), Justin Thomas became the No.1 Player in the World, passing Dustin Johnson who finished another shot back (tied for 17th) at 10 under par.