American golfer Webb Simpson, starting the final round with a seven-shot advantage, could afford a double bogey on his closing hole and still win the PLAYERS Championships by four shots.
His final round of one-over 73 gave him a total of 18-under 268, but it was four clear of runners-up Charl Schwartzel (67), Xander Schauffele (67) and Jimmy Walker (67). It was Simpson's first win since 2013.
Tiger Woods (69) finished T-11, while Justin Thomas, who like Woods came up from the cutline, carded 66 and finished T-11.
With World No. 1 Dustin Johnson (72) finishing T-17, Thomas also became the new World No. 1. Jordan Spieth (74) quadruple bogeyed the 18th and tumbled to T-41.
Simpson said, It means everything to me. I feel like it's my first win. I feel so similar to how I felt in Greensboro back in 2011. You know, to win a major championship and a few other TOUR events. I guess it's over four years without a win, you know, I never doubted myself, but at the same time, that's a long time.
"You know, we train hard and practice hard to try to win, and so -- there's been some tough moments along the way. But to come here against this field and put up some good numbers the first three days and do what I needed to do today to get it done, I'm so happy.
He also gave credit to his team, including his caddie and friend, Paul, his wife, his management, trainer and all others.
On how tough the final day was, he added, It was difficult. It was harder than I thought. I would have loved to have gotten off to a little better start.
"I was 1-under through 7, feeling pretty good with 9 coming up and 11, but dropped a shot at 8, and there's so much noise in front of us with Tiger, and you wonder what everybody is doing.
Simpson played steady despite all the challenges that came his way. The first challenge came from Woods, who was charging up the leaderboard, while the leader was still waiting his turn to get onto the course. Woods was four-under through nine and then six-under through 12.
The next challenge was Danny Lee, whose two early birdies reduced the seven-shot lead to five. Four was the closest any one, including Lee and Woods would come.
And that stayed as the margin even after an expansive double bogey on 18th by Simpson.
In the morning, Brooks Koepka (63), who also had the PLAYERS second-ever albatross on the 16th, showed low scorers were possible, but for anyone to make a bid, Simpson would also need to falter.
Woods turned in four-under 30. And then, when he made birdies at 11 and 12 to get to 14-under. It was around the same time as Simpson's par putt on 10th lipped out. Suddenly, Simpson was ahead by only four of a group that included Woods and Lee. That was the closest they would come.
Woods failed to get any more birdies and worse, he doubled the 17th going into water. His playing partner Spieth birdied 17th, but put the ball in water on 18th and came out with an eight and fell to T-41st.
Simpson was steady with pars at the first six holes before the Golfing Gods rewarded him with a birdie from 33-feet at the seventh. The gains were given away on eighth, but Simpson was still way ahead.
The last test was to stay dry at the island green par 3 17th. Simpson hit away from the flag, and his wedge shot settled safely in the middle of the green. His first putt ran past the hole to the fringe beyond but Simpson holed the par putt.
On the 18th, he was fine with his tee shot, but his aggressive second spilled over into the water on the left. Simpson came out with a double bogey, but it was not enough to take away the Trophy from him.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)