Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Simpson in four-stroke win at Players Championship

Simpson in four-stroke win at Players Championship

Simpson lays up perfectly.

However, that didn't stop the field from applying pressure and it was the rejuvenated Tiger Woods who led the charge early with some vintage play.

Scott won twice in 2016 but is still without a top-10 finish in almost a year due to recent putting struggles.

Woods lips out at 14 for bogey, dropping a shot behind Lee. Jimm Walker joins him. And like Saturday, he looked in position to shoot a round for the ages after birdieing the 11 and 12.

Woods joined Jason Day and Jason Dufner on 13 under through 11 after going out in 32 courtesy of four birdies. Almost two and a half years have passed, but for players like Simpson, it has to feel like an eternity.

He's committed to the Open Championship and unless a unexpected injury comes along, Woods will play in all four majors creating more attention for the year's most important tournaments.

Yet the short putter was doing him no favors.

He steadily climbed the leaderboard with birdies at the second, third, fourth and ninth holes.

Simpson finished last season at No. 88 in the key putting statistic (strokes gained), and he didn't miss a cut the rest of the year after Clark's tip. It's too hard and rolls past the hole - he could drop a shot here. It hardly mattered because of his performance on the green.

When Simpson replied that he was, Tesori called him out.

Not quite ready to get off that train just yet, Tiger hit another monstrous tee shot at the 5th, a 320-yard missile down the fairway.

Webb Simpson with his caddie Paul Tesori
Webb Simpson with his caddie Paul Tesori

Simpson makes par at nine. He began the final round looking up at Webb Simpson.

"I really wanted to do this for my mom", Simpson said after winning the tournament on Mother's Day.

Simpson's par putt at eight does a 360-degree around the hole and stays out. When Woods is contending, golf is must-see television, and the buzz he sends throughout the sports world even winds its way to his playing competitors.

"If he putts like he did this past week", Haas said, "then you have to think he'll be right there".

So much so that Simpson, a solid putter who had won four times, became one of its worst. He shot 15-under through 36 holes; three players were tied for second. "It was a helluva shot and I'll definitely take two there". He saved par at the eighth by hitting an explosion out of a greenside bunker and banking the ball off the slope on the right side of the green.

Feelings were as numerous as birdies for Simpson.

Simpson, however, has found a game that is working for him better now than it ever did before. Simpson set a record for the largest margin through three rounds.

Bigger picture, though, Woods drove the ball beautifully and for two-thirds of the round his putting had the velvet touch of old.

The one thing he couldn't afford was a mistake and he was unfortunate in suffering one at the 14th, where his par putt lipped out. Course: TPC Sawgrass (Players Stadium).

Lee ended with an even par 72 to end the tournament regarded as the fifth major at 12-under. He ranked 174th in putting on the PGA Tour in 2015 and 177th in 2016.

Lurking behind them was Tiger Woods, who has made a nice run this morning to get among the chasers.

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