Sports

Webb Simpson coasts to victory at THE PLAYERS Championship

Webb Simpson coasts to victory at THE PLAYERS Championship

This time, as Tiger Woods charged up the leaderboard at the Players Championship, a long overdue 80th PGA Tour victory really did look within reach.

"There's no way I would have predicted I would be at this point at the beginning of the year".

"I thought before [my father] passed that maybe the golf course would be the hardest place to be. but I think it's my favorite place to be".

"It feels great. I am exhausted. I got it down to four and figured I had to make a few more birdies", Woods said.

Woods shot 69 on Sunday but a bogey at the 14 and a double-bogey at the 17 derailed any chances of his success as he finished tied for 11, seven shots behind victor Webb Simpson. Lee asked. Told that Simpson was 19 under, Lee digested that and responded, "That's an impressive three rounds, I think".

The Players Championship might have ended in disappointment for Tiger Woods, but the 14-time major victor believes he is close to finally winning a tournament again.

The former world No. 1 turned in his best score in relation to par since 2013, a 7-under-par 65 in Saturday's third round, then closed out his first visit to the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass since 2015 with a 69 in Sunday's final round of the PGA Tour's flagship event. Woods didn't do anything spectacularly wrong the rest of the way, he just didn't convert and dropped his lone shot on the 14th with a drive into thick rough that kept him from reaching the green. Woods was seven shots back. "I thought about him all day", Simpson said. I knew my putting was right around the corner, I knew I was close because I hit good putts that just didn't go in. "Like D.J. has and like Tiger did and other guys who have had it for a long time, that's more of a goal of mine as opposed to just having it".

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Woods ended up tied for 11th at 277 along with Koepka, Australia's Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, England's Ian Poulter and Chesson Hadley, from Raleigh like Simpson.

Thomas, who came into the week ranked second, becomes the 21st different player to hold the top spot, ending Johnson's 64-week reign.

His final round of one-over 73 gave him a total of 18-under 268, but it was four clear of runners-up Charl Schwartzel (67), Xander Schauffele (67) and Jimmy Walker (67).

The next challenge was Danny Lee, whose two early birdies reduced the seven-shot lead to five.

Armed with a six shot lead on the 18th, Simpson sent his approach shot in to the water on the left hand side of the green.

Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open victor, had plummeted from 34th on the Tour's strokes gained putting in 2014 to 177th in the first year of the USGA's 2016 ban of the anchored putter Simpson had been so successful with.

"There's been some tough moments along the way", said Simpson, whose father died in November. "This is a little beacon of light for my mom, to get this done on Mother's Day".


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