Webb Simpson cruises to victory in Las Vegas
Former US Open champion Webb Simpson hit the jackpot in Las Vegas on Sunday, cruising to his fourth career victory on the PGA Tour by a commanding six shots at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Four ahead of the chasing pack at the start of play, Simpson did not allow his challengers to get any closer than three strokes before tightening his grip on the title with three birdies in the last six holes at the TPC Summerlin.
On another calm and sunny day of ideal scoring conditions in the high Nevada desert, Simpson closed with a five-under-par 66 to post a 24-under total of 260 in the second event of the PGA Tour’s 2013-14 season.
“It means the world,” Simpson said after sinking a curling 25-footer for par at the last to earn the winner’s cheque of US$1,080,000 and his first victory on the US circuit since the 2012 US Open.
“This year, I feel like I have gotten better, I just hadn’t gotten the win. I was close at Hilton Head but we were working hard and it’s just nice to finish the year off with a ‘W’.”
Simpson, who was embraced by his wife, Dowd, as he walked off the 18th green, lost out in a play-off with Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell for the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head in April.
Fellow American Jason Bohn bogeyed the last for a 66 to share second place at 18 under with Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa (65). Another American, Charley Hoffman, was a further stroke back in fourth after firing a joint best-of-the-day 64.
But it was Simpson who once again commanded the spotlight, having led the tournament since Friday’s second round.
Simpson had played rock-solid golf since starting the round and it came as something of a surprise when he three-putted from long range to bogey the par-four 12th for his lead to be briefly cut to three shots over Bohn.
However, he immediately rebounded with a birdie at the par-five 13th, where he sank an eight-footer, to regain a four-stroke cushion.
“I was playing good, solid golf,” Simpson said of his form on Sunday before his unexpected slipup at the 12th. “I didn’t look at the leaderboards all day but the course was drying out and I knew it was playing tough.
“That three-putt kind of set me back a little bit but it was nice to birdie 13, and then made a couple more birdies coming in, which was a good feeling.”