There’s an old saying that Las Vegas wasn’t built on winners. For Webb Simpson, at least, that statement didn’t exactly hold true on Sunday.
Simpson, who held the lead after 36 holes, never looked back on his way to a six-stroke win at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. TPC Summerlin is known for being a scoring haven, and Simpson took full advantage, posting a remarkable 28 birdies to only four bogeys in his first victory since the 2012 U.S. Open.
Any player will tell you that there’s no such thing as an easy win on the PGA Tour, but Simpson’s near wire-to-wire effort sure comes close. Entering Sunday’s finale with a four stroke lead, the Wake Forest alum was confident in his ability to close the deal.
“As we were going kind of middle of the round, pins were tough, greens were drying out and I knew it would take a really special round for somebody to shoot 7, 8 under,” Simpson said of the course conditions after the win. ”So, I felt like I was in control, and I asked my caddie, once I hit it on the green on 17 where we stood. And I was just thankful that I was able to kind of manage my golf ball the last couple rounds.”
“Managing” the golf ball is a wild understatement of the clinic Simpson put on this week. In 72 holes, Simpson missed only 10 greens in regulation. He finished fifth in the field in putts-per-GIR, averaging 1.645, and led the field in strokes gained putting. If you didn’t see any of it, you need only to look at the 25-footer Simpson drained on the 18th hole Sunday to know that just about everything was dropping.
What effect will this have on Simpson’s 2013-14 season? Even though he went without a win last season, he still found his way to a fourth-place finish at the Tour Championship, so the 500 FedEx Cup points he’ll bank will certainly go a long way towards his hopes of a big year. The win puts Simpson in second place in the points race, as last week’s winner, Jimmy Walker, finished tied for 12th at 14-under.
With a lot of the game’s superstars taking time off through the end of the calendar year, this is a big move for Simpson in the Tour’s new wraparound schedule, and he’ll be looking to build on that in the months to come.