Tiger Woods shoots 65, his lowest score ever at Players

If there was any disappointment Tiger Woods said it was in getting himself to eight-under through 12 but settling for a seven-under round. Tannen Maury  EPA

Players Championship: Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth prove unable to stop Webb Simpson

There was never any doubt.

THE only question for former US Open champion Webb Simpson as he boarded the first tee at TPC Sawgrass for the final round of the Players Championship concerned his margin of victory.

While Woods faltered a bit down the stretch, he now has four top-12 finishes already this year. Spieth made two bogeys in his round of 65 as both charged up the leaderboard in the morning with big crowds and loud cheers. I thought I missed the cut by one. "There's so much noise in front of us with Tiger, and you wonder what everybody is doing". Simpson, now holds the largest lead at seven in the history of the tournament. "I hit the ball well, I controlled it and I made some putts".

Justin Thomas has overtaken Dustin Johnson to become... He would have been pushing the top 50 with a second-place finish. Thomas is the 21st player to reach No. 1 since the ranking began in 1986, and the seventh American.

"There is not any means I might have predicted I might be at this level initially of the 12 months".

Jimmy Walker closed with a bogey-free 67 and tied for second with Charl Schwartzel and Xander Schauffele, who also shot 67s. Walker, who struggled all of a year ago with Lyme disease, had his best finish since he won the 2016 PGA Championship.

Simpson, who started the day -19, carded a one-over-par 73 but that was still good enough to win by five shots and see him claim a first tour trophy since 2014. Four was the closest any one, including Lee and Woods would come.

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He followed that up with a 69 on Sunday to end at -11 and tied-11th for the tournament. I kept remind myself today that the next shot was the most important. He has won there a record eight times but he is not qualified for the event. It was around the same time as Simpson's par putt on 10th lipped out. He led the field in putting during his four-shot victory at the Players.

And there 1754 birdies for the week, breaking by 136 the record from 1996.

There was no such painful tumble for Simpson, who secured his first PGA Tour success since 2013. While wrestling with how to move forward following the ban on anchored putters, Simpson has finished 174th, 177th and 88th in strokes gained putting over the last three seasons. He finally settled on a longer handle that ran up the left side of his arm, and then Tim Clark gave him the missing link.

"Eventually I was going to put all the pieces together and today, for the most part, I did that", he said.

In the end it turned into something of a procession as he carded a final round of 73 for a 72-hole total of 270, an astonishing 18 under par, and he walked away from TPC Sawgrass with a cheque for almost $2m in his back pocket, along with a five-year PGA Tour exemption.

The rest of the tournament would have been plenty exciting had Simpson chose to call in sick for work this week. Four-time Major victor McIlroy is going to be one of the all-time greats but he misses cuts like anyone else, which Tiger did not do.

"The way I was coming back into it, I was just trying to get a feel for it and hopefully have a schedule".

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