Paul Anthony Arco

The Takeaway

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Webb's Domain

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


Don’t count out Webb Simpson.

 

Two weeks after winning his first-ever title, the baby-face Simpson did it again, winning the Deutsche Bank Championship Monday in dramatic playoff fashion over Chez Reavie.

 

Simpson got hot at the right time with three straight birdies, starting on No. 18 and continuing onto two playoff holes to complete the stunning comeback.

 

He started the season at No. 213 in the world. He is now No. 14, thanks to two wins and has also grabbed a spot in the Presidents Cup.

 

It looked like Simpson might fall short in his bid for a comeback win that is until he drained a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 18 for a 6-under 65, and into a playoff when Reavie bogeyed No. 18 for a 66.

 

The pair finished regulation 15-under 269.

 

On No. 18 in the playoff, Reavie tapped in for birdie, but Simpson buried a 15-foot putt to keep the playoff alive; He won with an 8-foot putt on No. 17.

 

Simpson won his first PGA TOUR title three weeks ago at the Wyndham Championship. Now he moves to No. 1 in the standings and will finish in the top five when the playoffs wrap up in a few weeks.

 

He is now No. 14 in the world rankings. It was his ninth top-10 finish of the season. Simpson has made 19 of 22 cuts this season.

 

Like most events played this season, the tournament came down to the wire. It was the 15th PGA TOUR event decided by a playoff this season.

 

It was a fast start for Simpson, who birdied four holes and eagled another for a front nine score of six-under 30. He one-putted seven of his last eight greens, which also didn’t hurt.

 

But Reavie wouldn’t back down.

 

He hung in thanks to four birdies in a span of six holes on the back nine. But he missed a costly putt on No. 18 and a chance for victory. Still, he moves up to No. 9 in the FedExCup, along with a spot in THE TOUR Championship and in three majors next year. It was his first runner-up of his career. Not bad for a guy who started the season on a medical exemption from knee surgery last year and won’t get his full PGA TOUR status back for another four months.

 

Brandt Snedeker, Luke Donald and Jason Day finished T3 at 13-under 271.

 

The biggest disappointment on the day was Bubba Watson, who led by a stroke going into the final round. But a 74 put him out of contention and into T16.

 

The top 70 in the FedExCup advance to the third playoff event in two weeks at the BMW Championship in Chicago.

 

Ernie Els played well enough (8-under, T16) to rise to No. 68 and advance. Geoff Ogilvy (6-under, T25) holed a 20-foot par putt on No. 17 and a six-foot birdie on the last hole to move up to No. 69. Chris Stroud (3-under, T42) needed an eagle and got it on No. 18 that gave him the last spot at No. 70.

 

One Step Closer

 

It’s not official yet, but Gary Christian appears to be headed to the PGA TOUR.

 

Christian shot a 4-under 67 Sunday at the Mylan Classic to finish 17-under 267 and defeat John Mallinger (68) by one stroke. The win moved Christian up from No. 27 to No. 4 on the money list. It was his second career-win on the Nationwide Tour.

 

Craig Bowden (66) and Scott Brown (67) finished T3 at 15-under 269. J.J. Killeen (63), Billy Hurley (69) and defending champion Kevin Kisner (70) were T5.

 

One other note: Rahil Gangjee of India became the third player in Nationwide Tour history to make a hole-in-one when he aced the 316-yard, No. 15. Chip Beck (2003 Omaha Classic) and Richard Johnson (2009 Michael Hill New Zealand Open) were the other two.

 

The last player to make a hole-in-one on a par-4 on the PGA TOUR was Andrew Magee at the 333-yard, 17th hole at the 2001 Phoenix Open in Scottsdale.

 

Killeen, who’s won twice this year, played well enough to regain the No. 1 spot on the money list. Mallinger, who didn't qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs, finished second. It was just his fourth start on the Nationwide Tour this year.

 

Stray Shots

 

Players who missed the cut and will not advance include Brian Gay, Kevin Chappell, Ian Poulter, Chris Couch, Stewart Cink, John Merrick and Scott VerplankPhil Mickelson’s belly putter helped him this week to a T10 finish. He had six birdies and an eagle during the third round ... Dustin Johnson followed up his win at The Barclays with a disappointing T42. He trails only Simpson in the FedExCup standings … Bubba Watson has struggled holding onto third-round leads.  He has now lead or been tied for the lead five times heading into the final round on the PGA TOUR. He has only won one of those, this year’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He finished T2 at the 2007 Shell Houston Open, T8 at the 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational and T2 at the 2010 Bob Hope Classic. Watson has just three top-10 finishes this season, but he won two of them (Farmers Insurance Open and Zurich Classic of New Orleans) … Jerry Kelly has made 23 starts this season and has with three top-10 finishes … Defending champion Charley Hoffman finished T31 … Brandt Jobe finished T61 but remains No. 63 and will move on to the BMW Championship … Charl Schwartzel has made the cut in all 14 starts this year ... Trevor Immelman withdrew after the first round due to a death in the family… Thomas Bjorn finished 20-under 264 and four shots better than Martin Kaymer to win the Omega European Masters, for his second straight victory. He started the day in a share of fourth place but charged back to win for the 13th time on the European Tour. U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy finished T3 at 15 under with Jaco van Zyl and Jamie Donaldson.

 

The PGA TOUR and I are taking the week off before ramping back up at the BMW Championship near Chicago. I’ll see you then.

 



Paul Anthony Arco is a freelance writer and contributor to rotoworld.com. He is host of The Golf Show!, which airs Saturday mornings on WNTA 1330 AM (www.wnta.com) in Rockford, Ill. Paul can be reached at paul@paulanthonyarco.com
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