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Golf Australia Express : Issue 8
WEBB SIMPSON had no excuses for not knowing how the Wyndham Championship layout would play in the final round. The 26-year-old knew every inch of it, having been to college just half an hour down the road. He even once caddied for Neal Lancaster at the event’s pro-am a decade ago as a teenager. But it was on the other side of the bag that his brightest memory was forged yesterday when the rising star won his first PGA Tour event. And while he had the rare luxury of a pressure-free final hole, things were very different 70 holes earlier. When Simpson’s scorecard read three-over just four holes into the first round, his chances should have been shot. But only three holes later— after an eagle at the par five 5th and two birdies at six and seven—he’d erased the plus sign next to his name. By round’s end Webb had traded it for three more birdies, salvaging what could have been a golf-less weekend and turning it into a platform from which to launch a Sunday assault. And that he did, steadily WEBB TRAPS MAIDEN WIN improving throughout Friday before blasting six birdies and an eagle in a six- under 64 in the third round to grab the overnight lead. His final round lacked the fireworks of the previous three, but he made up for it with iron-clad consistency, making eight consecutive pars to start his round before eventually draining a birdie at the ninth. With second-placed fellow American George McNeill closing with a 64 but running out of holes to close the gap, the tournament was on Simpson’s clubface. Unperturbed, Webb made two birdies on the closing stretch to keep his closest rivals at arm’s length. He floated up the 18th fairway with a three- shot lead and closed out a faultless final round, inking his name in the history books at his home tournament. “ When I made the putt on 15, I asked my caddie for the first time all day, `Where do we stand?’ and he said, ‘We’re two ahead right now’,” Simpson said after the win. “I knew I needed to play solid golf on the last three holes, and to birdie 16 was so huge. I knew I had a three-shot leadon18,andassoonasI hit the ball in play, I knew it was probably over.” Simpson timed the best form of his golfing life perfectly, with none of the tournament’s big names firing. Colombian Camillo Villegas lamented an opening round 70 that had him chasing his tail all weekend, while Padraig Harrington never got going, finishing in a tie for 47th, 12 shots off the pace. OTG “I KNEW I HAD A THREE- SHOT LEAD ON 18, AND ASSOONASIHITTHE BALL IN PLAY, I KNEW IT WAS PROBABLY OVER.” — Webb Simpson WHAT JUST HAPPENED ON THE PGA TOUR FINAL STANDINGS 1 WEBB SIMPSON USA -18 $ 936,000 2 GEORGE MCNEILL USA -15 $ 561,600 3 TOMMY GAINEY USA -14 $ 353,600 T4 CHARLES HOWELL III USA -13 $ 196,040 T4 JERRY KELLY USA -13 $ 196,040 T4 KYUNG-TAE KIM KOR -13 $ 196,040 T4 CARL PETTERSSON SWE -13 $ 196,040 T4 VIJAY SINGH FIJ -13 $ 196,040 T9 JIM FURYK USA -12 $ 140,400 T9 CHEZ REAVIE USA -12 $ 140,400 T9 CAMILO VILLEGAS COL -12 $ 140,400 WRAP THE