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Tour Rundown: Webb Simpson doesn’t blow it, wins The Players

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Even thought the majors of male professional golf are limited to four tournaments each year, there is no denying the regard in which The Players is held by golfers, fans and the media. TPC-Sawgrass might never have been more beautiful in its final year of May play; the tournament returns to March in 2019. This year’s winner drew on the experience he earned down the stretch at the 2012 U.S. Open, the site of his major title. For more, let’s skip the pomp and get right to the Rundown.

PGA Tour: Simpson wins The Players

Webb Simpson’s swing is not a thing of beauty. Equal parts lurch, hip check and MMA lash, it can be incredibly efficient when combined with stellar putting. Such was the case this week, as Simpson turned wonders into believers with each passing round. He found a way to add strokes to his lead, and did not hit one stinker until his approach to the 72nd hole. By that point, the Wake Forest alum had a six-shot lead and the opera lady was three bars in to her aria.

How Simpson outmatched the entire field

He had zero bad rounds. He kept going 2-3 shots lower than anyone in the mix. Simpson was on tracks to shoot 62 or 61 on Friday, until he banked his tee shot on 17 off the railroad ties, not once, but twice, and made double. On Sunday, his approach at the last was a bit strong and bit left, and ran through the green, into Pete’s Pond. Simpson made nearly every putt he looked at, be it for eagle, birdie or par. He made them from off the green, far away on the green, and from 8 feet for saves when it mattered most. This week, it was his world and the rest were merely guests.

Webb Simpson’s Winning WITB

What we heard from the rest of the field

Since second-place money was 1 million greenbacks, the tournament-within-The Players saw a 3-way tie for the runner-up spot. Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele each posted 67 on day four, to finish 4 back of the champion. Tiger Woods was 6-under on the day through Sunday’s 13th, but played the last five holes in 3-over, when 3-under would have thrown a scare into the eventual winner. You can’t help but think that the cat is certainly back, and that a win is not far off. Oh, and the best shot of the week came from Brooks Koepka, who one-bounced an iron into the 16th hole for albatross on day four, on his way to 63.

European Tour: Sicilian Open sails off in the hands of Lagergren

Ask someone to play with the lead, other than Johnny Miller, and she or he will tell you how challenging it can be. Neither Joakim Laegergren nor Mike Lorenzo-Vera is particularly versed in the cadence of front-runner, although Vera was coming off a successful week of Golf Sixes, where he partnered with Romain Wattel to advance France to the finals. Lagergren emerged from the pack with 4 birdies on his outward half, then stalled, coming home in 1-over to reach 16-under. Lorenzo-Vera, the 3rd round pole-sitter, was unable to produce magic for a 3rd consecutive round, after 64-63 had boosted him to the top spot. His mundane Sunday went like this: bogey-birdie-lots of pars, bogey-birdie-lots of pars, one more birdie to tie for top spot. At day’s end, a single, extra hole was required, as the Swede dispatched the Frenchman with birdie from 10 feet.

As for those who were left wanting…

Andy Sullivan of England and Lucas Herbert of Australia posted the day’s best rounds of 65 and 63, respectively. Herbert was particularly sensational, making birdie on half of his holes on the day. Sullivan had a marvelous eagle at the 9th, on his way to a T3 finish with the Aussie. On a day when the pair started so far back, that only perfection would do, each had one bogey to arrive on shot shy of the playoff family photograph.

Web.Com Tour: Jaeger denies Im a second win in in 2018 at Knoxville Open

While Sungjae Im runs away with the prize for the breakout star of 2018 Web, equally as impressive a question is, why Stephan Jaeger needs the Web.Com tour. The German seems to win a pair of events each year, yet has failed to find success at the next level. No matter, he’ll certainly have another chance as the 2017-18 season continues next week.

Jaeger returns to comfortable surroundings

After 2 Web wins in 2018, including next week’s BMW, Jaeger has struggled at level one. No matter. His week in Tennessee certainly reminded him of the scores he is capable of shooting. 128 strokes on the weekend tends to do that.

Jaeger is the meister once more

Also known as A tale of two Jaegers. After 3 doubles and 2 bogeys over his first 36 holes, Jaeger went into orbit, with 13 birds, 1 eagle and a solitary bogey over his final two days. Nothing more to say than, as with Simpson above, when a golfer finds that mojo, there’s neither explanation nor a halt. With Im in the clubhouse at 13-under, Jaeger birdied his final two holes to jump from a 1 to a 3-stroke margin of victory.

Im on the cusp of something bigger?

Sungjae Im became one of a handful of golfers to win in his first Web.Com tour start. Since then, he has garnered a pair of runner-up finishes, but has yet to repeat his triumph in the gradually-aging season. No doubt a massive success, the next step toward second-tier stardom and a shot at the big leagues, is another victory. Wyndham Clark, another young stalwart with heavy shoulders and an eye on the Bigs, closed with 65 to nab solo 3rd money.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Dave r

    May 14, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Come on guys . Try not to get to personal . the story is about him .

  2. Scott

    May 14, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Good for him, but another garbage winner of the Players. Si Woo Kim, Stephen Ames, KJ Choi, Craig Perks, Fred Funk, Tim Clark, Jodie Mudd, etc.

    • BRODIE

      May 16, 2018 at 8:46 am

      I think this is due to how ridiculous the course is set up. It’s more often than not lucky/unlucky bounces that decide winners at TPC.

  3. WAGs all day

    May 14, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    even if he did blow it…. did you see that smoke show wife…. good for him!

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Equipment

Charles Howell III’s winning WITB: 2018 RSM Classic

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Driver: Titleist TS3 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 65

Fairway woods: Titleist TS2 (15, 21 degrees)
Shafts: Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 8X, Fujikura ATMOS Tour Spec Black 9X

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB 4-iron, Titleist 718 AP2 (5-7), Titleist 718 CB (8-PW)
Shafts: Project X LZ 6.5 (hard stepped)

Wedges: Vokey SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align

Ball: Titleist Pro V1 (proto)

SEA ISLAND, GA – NOVEMBER 17: Charles Howell lll tees off on the eighth hole tee box during the third round of The RSM Classic at the Sea Island Resort Seaside Course on November 17, 2018 in Sea Island, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)

RELATED: See what members are saying about CH III’s equipment in the forums.

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Equipment

Danny Willett’s Winning WITB: DP World Tour Championship

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Driver: Callaway Rogue (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 60x

3-wood: Callaway Rogue Fairway Wood (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana W 70X

Irons: Callaway X Forged Utility Irons (18, 21, 24 degrees), Callaway X Forged 18 Irons (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Superlite

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy Forged PW (48 degrees), Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Wedges (54, 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold

Putter: Odyssey Prototype (Stroke Lab)

Ball: Chrome Soft X

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Equipment

Lee Westwood’s winning WITB: 2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge

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Driver: Ping G400 LST (10 degrees) (D6)
Shaft: Veylix Rome 60 X Tip 1”, 45.25″

3-wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees) (D3)
Shaft: Aldila Phenom 70X, 43″

Hybrid: Ping G (19 degrees) (D2+)
Shaft: Aldila ATX Tour Green 85X, 40.5”

Irons: Ping i210 4-PW, UW (50 degrees) UW (54 degrees) (Std length, Blue color code, D0+)
Shafts: Ping JZ Stiff

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (60 degrees)
Shaft: JZ Stiff

Putter: Ping Sigma 2 Fetch 35”
Grip: PING Pistol Sigma 2 PP60

Grips: Lamkin Crossline Full Cord (+1 wrap) on woods, PING Id8 Half Cord on irons

Ball: Titleist ProV1x

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