American Gary Woodland saved par with a 10-foot putt on the last hole to claim his first U.S. PGA Tour title with a one-shot victory on Sunday at the Transitions Championship over compatriot Webb Simpson.
An in-form Woodland used an uncanny touch with his putter to post a four-under-par 67 for a 15-under-par total of 269 on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook.
Woodland, who earlier this year lost a playoff at the Bob Hope Classic, tied for fifth at Phoenix and tied for sixth at the Honda Classic, made all 17 putts he had from within 20 feet during the pressure-packed final round.
“I was struggling with the golf swing today. I think the adrenaline got the most of me all day,” said Woodland. “But the one thing that has really helped me in my career has been the putting and today it saved me. It won me a golf tournament.”
Woodland’s dramatic par at the 18th was his only par on a rollercoaster last nine for the winner, who posted five birdies and three bogeys from the 10th.
A tightly-packed leaderboard gave way to a late duel between Woodland, 26, and the 25-year-old Simpson, who was tied for the lead as he played the 18th.
Simpson hit his tee shot in the left fairway bunker and his second shot through the green about 50 feet from the cup, close to where Woodland had been in the group before.
His strong chip ran 20 feet past the hole and Simpson missed the par putt that would have forced a playoff, killing his shot at capturing his maiden Tour victory.
“Just one shot short is tough because you’re here four days and you work so hard. This opportunity comes not that often, so I’m a little disappointed,” said Webb, whose previous best finish had been a tie for fourth last year in Las Vegas.
“But I’m sure looking back I’ll learn a lot from it and hopefully have many opportunities to win again.”
American Scott Stallings was third on 272 after shooting 70, with compatriot Brandt Snedeker (70) another stroke away.
Third-round leader Justin Rose of Britain, who floundered with four bogeys in a row from the seventh, shot 74 and was in a group of six on 274 that also included compatriot Martin Laird (70) and Brendon de Jonge of Zimbabwe (73).
“I felt really in control the beginning of the round,” said Rose. “Kind of a case of I didn’t really get anything out of the first six, seven holes. I hit a lot of good putts, burned a lot of edges early.
“I just seemed to lose my focus.”
De Jonge, also gunning for his first U.S. PGA Tour title, was tied for the lead at 14 under par before going into a tailspin with four bogeys over the last seven holes.
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