Webb Simpson denies would-be challengers for Players victory

Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports

Webb Simpson denies would-be challengers for Players victory

PGA Tour

Webb Simpson denies would-be challengers for Players victory

Here is a recap of the final round of the 2018 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.:

WINNER: Entering Sunday no player in PGA Tour history had held a 54-hole lead of seven or more shots and gone on to lose the tournament. Webb Simpson kept that streak alive Sunday at TPC Sawgrass.

Holding a seven-shot lead at the start of play on Mother’s Day, Simpson did what he needed to do to complete the victory. Even a water ball and closing double bogey at the par-4 18th wasn’t enough to deny Simpson, who shot 1-over 73 yet still won by four shots at 18 under.

In the first 17 holes, Simpson didn’t give his competitors much chance to catch him. He made three birdies – most notably a 32-foot make at the par-4 seventh – and holed a few crucial par saves, including a 9-footer at the par-3 17th.

Simpson, who last won at the Shriners Open in 2013, now has five Tour wins. Sunday’s Players victory marked his first top-10 at the event. He is the ninth player to win both a Players and a U.S. Open.

JUST MISSED: A bevy of major champions and PGA Tour winners, including Tiger Woods, made runs, but none could pull closer than four shots. Jimmy Walker was among those finishing T-2 as he shot 67 to secure his best finish since winning the 2016 PGA Championship. Charl Schwartzel and Xander Schauffele each birdied the last to shoot 67 and share second. Jason Dufner three-putted the 18th green to fall to T-5 with Jason Day. It’s still Dufner’s first top-10 since winning the 2017 Memorial Tournament.

SHOT OF THE DAY: Not a ton of incredible shots on Sunday, but Jason Day’s eagle at the par-5 ninth was pretty nice.

QUOTABLE: “I thought about him all day. I think it’s been an emotional week for my mom and sisters and my brother. We miss him like crazy, but I really wanted to do this for my mom. She’s been praying for me a lot.” – Simpson, whose father, Sam, died last November.

SHORT SHOTS: Justin Thomas closed in 68-66 to finish T-11 and dethrone Dustin Johnson as World No. 1. … Tiger Woods reached T-2 at one point Sunday, but a water ball and double bogey at the par-3 17th cost him. he shot 69 and finished T-11. … Brooks Koepka tied the tournament record, firing a 9-under 63 to finish at 11 under and just shy of his first Tour top-10 since last fall’s WGC-HSBC Champions. … Keegan Bradley notched his first top-10 in 10 events, closing in 66 to finish T-7. … Harold Varner III hadn’t cracked the top 10 on Tour since last August’s Wyndham Championship. He also had gone 13 straight starts on Tour without finishing better than T-45. Varner shot 68 in the final round to share seventh.

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