Webb Simpson won his first title on golf’s U.S. PGA Tour by capturing the Wyndham Championship, the last regular-season tournament.
Simpson shot a 3-under 67 in the final round yesterday at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, for a four-round score of 18-under-par 262. He finished three shots ahead of fellow American George McNeill, who had a 64, the best round of the day. Another American, Tommy Gainey, was third at 14 under.
“I never thought that winning on the PGA Tour would be this hard, all the pressure and everything that goes on to win a golf tournament, but I’m extremely pleased and I really love the way I finished,” Simpson said in a news conference.
The victory, worth $918,000, elevated Simpson nine places to third in the season-long FedEx Cup playoff standings. The top 125 players qualified for the Barclays, which begins Aug. 25 at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey. Three more playoff events follow, each with a smaller field, culminating in the 30-player Tour Championship. The winner of the FedEx Cup receives a $10 million bonus.
Camilo Villegas of Colombia climbed to 109th in the playoff standings after beginning the tournament in 125th place. The Colombian shot a 4-under 66 yesterday to advance to 12 under and a tie for ninth place in the tournament.
Two-time major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland, who started in 130th place in the playoff standings, reached 124th after a 2-under 68 took him to 6 under par and a tie for 47th place in the Wyndham Championship.
McGirt Grabs Spot
American William McGirt finished a shot behind Harrington, enough to secure the 32-year-old the final spot at the Barclays. South Africa’s Ernie Els played himself into the postseason by finishing 118th in the standings after beginning the tournament 126th.
“It’s been the longest afternoon of my life,” McGirt told reporters. “Just sitting around and waiting, knowing there’s nothing you can do, you just drive yourself crazy and that’s what I did all afternoon.”
American Justin Leonard, the 1997 British Open champion, needed to climb 17 places to make the playoffs. A bogey on the final hole meant he rose 16 spots to 126th.
“To try and wait until this week to make it through is just -- you know, I mean, come on,” Leonard told reporters. “I had 25 other weeks to play like this.”
John Mallinger began the tournament in 212th place in the FedEx standings and needed to finish second to make the Barclays. He bogeyed the 11th to drop into a tie for second place and then fell out of contention by also dropping shots at the 13th, 14th and 18th holes. The American finished in a tie for 12th at the Wyndham.