The Players Championship 2018 leaderboard, grades: Webb Simpson stuns, Tiger Woods impresses

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There was nothing distinctive about Webb Simpson’s final-round 73 on Sunday, but it surely clearly led to one of the vital particular wins of his profession. Simpson did all of the work over the primary three days of the 2018 Players Championship with a 66-63-69 begin and cruised residence within the last spherical, thumping runners-up Jason Dufner, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel and Jimmy Walker by 4 strokes, even with a double bogey on the ultimate gap. It was as stress-free as huge victories like a Players Championship can presumably be. Just check out the leaderboard.

Still, there have been moments the place it may have come unraveled. Simpson three-putted the par-5 2nd for par. He definitely was not as aggressive or as bent on making birdies. For the primary time all week, he misplaced strokes to the sector from tee to inexperienced. But the numbers inform the entire story of Sunday for someone who had a landing lead coming in. 

  • Fairways hit: 12 (he hit 46 of 56 on the week!)
  • Par putts taken from over 6 toes: Three

The huge key, till the ultimate gap, was that par putts over 6 toes determine. He wasn’t having to grind out Eight-, 9- and 10-footers over the course of the day. 

Simpson settled in after the three-putt and couldn’t have been extra spectacular all through. It was a unique type of spectacular than the primary three days when he blew away the sector with world-class placing and an outrageous quick recreation. But each time someone behind him — Jason Dufner, Tiger Woods, Jimmy Walker amongst them — appeared poised to make a run if Simpson slipped, he held them at bay. 

“It was robust,” Simpson informed Steve Sands of NBC. “Being in that place is rather a lot tougher than I assumed. You all the time need to be main going into the ultimate spherical. You would suppose main by seven is nice, but it surely’s arduous to remain motivated to proceed doing what you’ve got been doing.”

Simpson completed at 18-under 270 and fell effectively wanting Greg Norman’s all-time scoring document, however this was not a day to be chasing scoring information. Simpson knew this, and he performed prefer it all day. The complete 18-hole stroll was little greater than a coronation for someone who hasn’t gained on the PGA Tour in practically 5 years.

The major storyline surrounding Simpson over the previous few years has been his challenge with the putter. While wrestling with easy methods to transfer ahead following the ban on anchored putters, Simpson has completed 174th, 177th and 88th in strokes gained placing during the last three seasons. This yr, he is been significantly better. This week, he was elite. He completed No. 1 within the area in placing and gained practically 10 strokes on the sector (greater than 50 % of his whole) with the flat stick.

There’s a gorgeous irony in that. 

“I actually needed to do that for my mother,” Simpson, who misplaced his dad final yr, informed Sands. “She’s been praying for me. This was for her.”

And now Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, has notched the second-biggest victory of his profession. This one got here in a a lot completely different method than that one, although. In 2012, Simpson swiped the trophy when the leaders stumbled coming residence. This week, he by no means went to sleep with out not less than a share of the lead. In that sense, this one needs to be not less than as satisfying if no more so. Of course after 5 years and so many ups and downs, all Simpson cares about is strolling away with that trophy any method he can get it. Grade: A+

Here are the remainder of our grades for the 2018 Players Championship.

Tiger Woods (T11): Woods crushed on the weekend after a mediocre begin. The huge flip got here along with his huge stick as he hit 22 of 28 fairways and gained two strokes on the sector off the tee on the weekend. If this model of Tiger is posting these numbers off the tee, he’ll win a number of tournaments all through the remainder of 2018. Grade: A

Justin Thomas (T11): J.T. wanted this factor to go about seven rounds to have an opportunity. He shot 73-70-68-66 and bought higher every day. The excellent news for him is that with that 6-under 66 within the last spherical, Thomas strikes to No. 1 on the planet, usurping Dustin Johnson’s 64-week reign on the prime. Thomas is simply the seventh American to be the No. 1 participant on the planet, becoming a member of Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Fred Couples, David Duval, Tom Lehman and Johnson. Grade: A-

Jordan Spieth (T41): The top-ranked participant on the PGA Tour in Sunday scoring common stalled after a 7-under 65 on Saturday. He additionally had one of many more odd finishes you will ever see. After practically acing the par-Three 17th, he made a quadruple-bogey on the par-Four 18th that included a three-putt from 5 toes for a 2-over 74. 

Still, he hasn’t performed very effectively at this observe over the course of his profession and it appeared necessary for him to jump-start the second half of his season with one thing on the weekend. A T41 end will not look nice on the resume, and that final gap was a borderline catastrophe, however contemplating he barely made the lower on Friday, it seems like he may be headed in the precise course (and I am already selecting him to win at Trinity Forest subsequent week). “I am on the precise path now, and I actually simply needed a weekend tee time right here,” stated Spieth. “Every event spherical I play I really feel like on the precise path it will get higher and higher and higher.” Grade: B- 

Phil Mickelson (MC): I did not anticipate a ton from Lefty this week as a result of he doesn’t mesh effectively with this course, however his 79-73 was even worse than I assumed it could be. Mickelson truly putted effectively, however each different a part of his recreation was atrocious. He completed near final in each strokes gained across the inexperienced and strokes gained on method photographs, which had been two relative robust factors for him all season. He will get the “effectively, he hasn’t performed effectively at this course just lately” go to pair along with his “effectively, he supplied us with a ton of content material with these hilarious shirts” go, however I am intrigued by the subsequent few months. Grade: D-

CBS Sports was with you the whole method Sunday with dwell scores, updates, evaluation and highlights from the entire motion at TPC Sawgrass. If you might be unable to view the updates beneath, please click here.

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