Webb Simpson won the U.S. PGA Tour’s Deutsche Bank Championship with a closing run of three straight birdies, including a nine-footer on the second hole of a playoff with Chez Reavie.
Simpson, 26, claimed the second of the tour’s four playoff events for the FedEx Cup after Reavie missed a 23-foot birdie attempt. His winning putt came after he made birdies of 27 and 16 feet the previous two holes to stay in contention.
Simpson got his first PGA Tour victory Aug. 21 at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, the last regular-season tournament before the playoffs.
“I told somebody that I feel like the next time I was in contention it’ll be a lot easier than Greensboro and it wasn’t that way at all,” Simpson said at a news conference. “The shots and the putts were just as hard. I think it helped calm me down a little, but it was like I had never won a golf tournament before.”
Simpson finished the fourth round with a 27-foot birdie putt to get to 15-under par and the tournament went to a playoff for the first time when Reavie missed an 11-foot par putt at the par-5 18th hole.
Until that point, Reavie had been the only player in the field without a bogey in the final round and it came after his third shot from 115 yards flew over the green. Simpson said afterwards he thought he had a 1 percent chance of getting to a playoff with Reavie holding a one-shot lead and a wedge for his approach.
Simpson had to sink a 16-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole, the 18th, where Reavie had a matching three-footer. The players moved to the 17th hole, where Simpson again took one putt to claim the $1.44 million winner’s check.
Simpson and the other top 69 players in the FedEx Cup rankings now advance to the BMW Championship, which begins Sept. 15 in Lemont, Illinois. The top 30 move on from there to the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta, where the FedEx Cup winner receives a $10 million bonus.
Simpson said he’ll return home to spend time with his wife and infant son, and then travel to Pinehurst, North Carolina, for a golf weekend with his friends before the next playoff event at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club.
Simpson moved atop the FedEx Cup rankings with his win, passing Dustin Johnson, who won the first playoff event, the Barclays. Matt Kuchar is third, followed by Luke Donald and Brandt Snedeker. Reavie is ninth.
“I do feel comfortable near the top and I want to expect that I can play with the guys who are the best players in the world,” Simpson said. “Right now, things are going well for me, but I know this is a fickle game. All I really try to do is keep improving.”
Simpson shot a 6-under-par 65 during the final round yesterday, when seven players had at least a share of the lead. There were 23 players at the start of the day within four strokes of 54-hole leader Bubba Watson, including Simpson, who was two shots back.
Snedeker, Australian Jason Day and Donald, the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, tied for third at 13-under par. Defending FedEx Cup champion Jim Furyk finished at 12 under, one shot better than Bo Van Pelt.
Phil Mickelson shot a final-round 69 to tie for 10th place at 9-under par. Watson stumbled to a 3-over 74 in the final round to tie for 16th place.