U.S. golfer Webb Simpson simply dominated the field at THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
And with mom on his mind on Mother’s Day, Simpson finished off the job Sunday, shooting a 1-over-par 73 to finish with a four-day total of 18-under 270. He won the tournament by four shots and was greeted on the green by a hug from his wife Dowd, the mother of their four children.
“I wanted to do this for my mom,” Simpson said on the NBC telecast after winning THE PLAYERS for the first time.
It was just his fifth win ever on the PGA Tour since turning pro in 2008 and it was his first victory in nearly five years. It was also his first victory since his father, Sam, died in November from a form of Parkinson’s disease.
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Simpson burst onto the leaderboard during the second round Friday, when he shot 9-under-par 63 to tie the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course record. He was the first in THE PLAYERS Championship history to have a five-shot lead after two rounds. And he increased it to a seven-shot lead after Saturday’s third round.
He cruised to the victory Sunday, fighting off a group of three who tied for second place at 274: Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele of the United States, and Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
“Being in that position was a lot tougher than I thought,” Simpson said of his large lead. “It’s hard to stay motivated and keep doing what you’re doing.”
Brooks Koepka, who won the 2017 U.S. Open, matched Simpson’s 63 on Sunday in the final round.
Matt Kuchar finished the highest of four 2016 U.S. Olympians in the tournament, tying for 17th place with a 10-under 278. Tiger Woods tied for 11th with a score of 277.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.