Webb gets in the house at -22 with only Ancer with a putt to tie him on 18.
A loaded leaderboard that looked destined for a photo finish and potentially a Monday playoff finally saw a leader emerge from the pack, and that leader also happens to be one of the five best golfers in the world right now. Webb Simpson (-22) birdied five of his last seven holes at the 2020 RBC Heritage on Sunday to land a 7-under 64 and one-stroke win over Abraham Ancer.
The last 100 minutes of the tournament was a tour de force. Simpson and Ancer traded absolute missiles from tee to green, all while Daniel Berger, Tyrrell Hatton, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka and Joaquin Niemann weaved in and out of the lead late in the day.
It felt as if Simpson's birdie barrage was coming at some point, but after he played the first 11 holes in just 2 under on a day where shooting 67 seemed pedestrian, you had to wonder if it would come too late. Then the floodgates flung open. Simpson gained three strokes on the field with his putter over the last seven holes (again, five of them birdies) and secured his second victory of the season.
Simpson, whose 22 under was a new scoring record at Harbour Town, always plays well in Hilton Head, South Carolina. But this was his first win there, and it came as a mild surprise given his missed cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge last week at Colonial Country Club. Still, the overall trajectory should not be a surprise. Simpson is now the No. 5-ranked golfer in the world, which is fitting given that he's been one of the five or six most consistent guys in the world over the last three years. He has also bumped up to No. 1 in the FedEx Cup Standings.
When we discuss Simpson, sometimes we have a tendency to lump him in with lesser players than the level he's performed at for most of his career. He's not sexy long off the tee and has neither the prettiest swing nor the bottomless well of glitzy sponsors like a Rickie Fowler or Rory McIlroy.
It's fitting, though, that Simpson won on a spectator-less course in which the last two hours of the broadcast played out with little interference. The entire thing -- just like last week -- felt like a high-level amateur event, and that is the greatest compliment I can give to a PGA Tour tournament. That's a difficult scenario to recreate when so much money is at stake. Golf is best when it's distilled to its purest form, and that's what we got on Sunday and often get from him.
Simpson is straight golf. Golf shot after golf shot after golf shot. He's not going to win the Trackman Olympics, but he's sure going to contend for a lot of tournaments. While his putting coming home will (and should) get the accolades, it's his ball-striking that carried the day (as always). He was top 10 from tee to green and on his approach shots, he hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation on Sunday, and his average distance from the pin was a stunning 25 feet. It was a show from everyone coming home but most of all from Simpson.
The average golf fan still won't talk about him the way the same way Jon Rahm or Dustin Johnson is talked about, and maybe that's fair given his statistical profile. He might not quite be in that club. But he's certainly close, and weeks like this -- his seventh career win and second of the season -- add to the mounting pile of evidence we have that Webb Simpson is in fact one of the five best golfers in the world. Grade: A+
Brooks Koepka (7th): This was his best week in a long time as he closed with 65 to sniff the lead for most of Sunday afternoon. He still wasn't where you'd like on approach shots (outside the top 50), but his swing looked more compact and fluid than it has throughout 2020. His hole of the week came at the par-4 9th on Sunday when he drove the green and gave himself a kick-in eagle (his second on that nine on the day). With the PGA Championship under two months away, it's a perfect time for Koepka to start rolling again. "At the Players, I felt like we were turning a corner," Koepka told CBS Sports after his round. "We put in good work [over the last month and a half] and starting to see the results. You have to be patient. The first part of the year didn't get off the way I wanted it to. You have to stay patient and trust yourself." Grade: A
Justin Thomas (T8): J.T. finally found his putter on Sunday, and the result was a 63 (with two bogeys!). He's been absolutely striping it in two events back with little to show for it. The tough part for him to swallow is that he's one of the better putters on the PGA Tour, and he doesn't have anything to show for his pair of top-20 finishes from tee to green. If I'm looking ahead to the next month, it's pretty easy to find a J.T. win in there if he keeps hitting it like this. Grade: A
Jordan Spieth (T68): The good news here is that there was no roller coaster this week. The bad news is that that's because Spieth didn't play well past the first day. He lost strokes to the field from tee to green and finished even lower with the putter. After a semi-encouraging week at Colonial last week, this felt like two steps forward one step backward for the three-time major winner. Grace: C-
Seeking more action on the course? Listen below and subscribe to The First Cut Golf podcast where we take you inside the ropes on the PGA Tour and beyond.