Webb Simpson (64) catches fire late, wins RBC Heritage at Harbour Town
With a round of 64 and five birdies in his last seven holes, Webb Simpson won the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town by one over Abraham Ancer. Here’s how play finished up in the dark Sunday night following a two-hour, 46-minute, late-afternoon weather delay on Hilton Head Island:
Leaderboard: Simpson (-22), Ancer (-21), Daniel Berger (-20), Tyrrell Hatton (-20) Sergio Garcia (-19), Joaquin Niemann (-19), Brooks Koepka (-18)
What it means: This is Simpson’s seventh PGA Tour victory and his second this season, a follow-up to his playoff win over Tony Finau in early February at TPC Scottsdale. He is putting together, in limited action, one of the best seasons of his Tour career. In just seven starts, Simpson has racked up two wins, a second, a third, a tie for seventh. The three-time Ryder Cupper entered the week sixth on the U.S. points list, in the final automatic qualifying spot, and figures to be a lock for Whistling Straits – assuming of course the matches are played. With the victory, Simpson joins Justin Thomas and Brendon Todd as two-time winners on Tour this season. He ascends to No. 1 on the FedExCup points list and No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking, on which he is the third-highest-ranked American, behind Thomas and Koepka.
How it happened: Tied for the overnight lead at 15 under and playing in the second-to-last pairing, Simpson played his first 11 holes in just 2 under, before catching fire in the fading sun. He ripped off five birdies in six holes from Nos. 12-17, breaking out of a leaderboard logjam and taking the outright lead with a 15-footer at 16 and going up two with an 18-footer at 17.
With a par at the last, Simpson set a new 72-hole tournament scoring record of 22-under 262, besting Brian Gay’s total from 2009 by two. (Gay won by 10 shots that week.)
Best of the rest: Coming up the 72nd fairway behind Simpson, Ancer had an opportunity to force a playoff with a birdie at 18 but couldn’t get his 34-footer to fall. Tied for third, Hatton and Berger were both hunting their second wins in as many starts, with Hatton taking the last event before the layoff, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, and Berger the first event after the layoff, last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial.
Round of the day: Finishing his round before the weather delay and more than six hours before the final group, Dylan Frittelli fired the round of the week with a career-low, bogey-free, 9-under 62. He played the back nine in 29, with three different pairs of back-to-back birdies at Nos. 11-12, 14-15 and 17-18, and sat on the clubhouse lead during the weather stoppage.
Biggest disappointment: One of four men tied for the overnight lead and playing alongside Simpson, Ryan Palmer never factored. He carded four birdies against two bogeys and couldn’t keep pace on a leaderboard littered with low scores, settling for 69 and a tie for eighth, five back.
Shot of the day: Koepka’s tee ball to 3 feet at the 329-yard, par-4 ninth:
It was one of two eagles in a round of 65 that propelled Koepka to his best finish of the season: a solo seventh.
Quote of the day: “It was a crazy day. Honestly, I’m speechless right now. We had that big delay, I texted my good friend … to see if I could stay at his house here tonight. It looked like we weren’t going to finish, but we went back out, the Tour did a great job getting us out there pretty quickly, only had a 20 minute warmup. It was a long day on the golf course as well, I didn’t really get it going until 12, and then the putts started going in, and I was getting confident, and it’s amazing to be standing here right now.” – Simpson