2012 US Open Champion, Webb Simpson found out on Saturday that if you shoot around even par at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, you will get left in the dust. Simpson got it going Sunday afternoon on the back nine with four birdies. He got into the clubhouse with a five under par 68 and a share of the third round lead at the Kapalua Plantation Golf Course.
After putting up a mediocre 71 on Saturday, Webb Simpson got a text from his regular caddie, Paul Tesori on Sunday morning, who is in Florida for the birth of his son. Tesori’s son had a seizure at birth, and is in a hospital fighting for his life. Long-time friend, and Bubba Watson’s regular caddie, Ted Scott is on Simpson’s bag this week.
“Paul sent me a text this morning, just told me he loved me and wanted to go out and fight as hard as I would any other day,” Simpson said Sunday after doing just that.
The 28 year-old former US Open Champ from Raleigh, North Carolina has been around the leaderboard all weekend, but got his putter working on a day where the huge greens were taking their toll on the leaders.
“I felt like we were out there playing for Isaiah,” Simpson said. “Paul needs something to watch there in the hospital. It’s been a long few days, so hopefully, we gave him something good to see on TV. But it was tough. I was thinking about him a lot out there.”
Simpson was the first to reach 14 under par with the birdie at 16, and a great putt at 17 to save par. He got into the clubhouse with a 205 and sole possession of the lead.
Second-round leader, Zach Johnson was never able to get his putter working on Sunday. The 2007 Masters Champ was very solid tee-to-green, but got nothing out of his putter. He made a couple of uncharacteristic mistakes down the stretch and fell out of the lead. The smaller Johnson picked up some un-forced errors at the 14th and 16th holes and carded a one over 74 to fall two strokes off the pace.
After coming up short, and left of the driveable 14th green, Johnson chunked his second shot over the green. One of the best players on tour with a wedge in his hand then knocked his third shot well past the flag and missed the putt coming back.
Jordan Spieth got off to a slow start again with only the second bogey of the week coming at the sixth hole. The youngster played well, but could not get some of his early putts to fall.
As in both previous rounds, his game heated up on the back nine and he was able to pick up a birdie at 17 to get a piece of the 54-hole lead.
“This is a new position for me,” Spieth said. “I’ve never slept on a 54-hole lead. I’m excited about it and it’s going to be a fun time tomorrow to get to play with Webb for the third time this week.”
Two big movers on Sunday were Brian Gay, and Gary Woodland. Gay caught fire on the front nine making five birdies, and an eagle to make the turn at 29. He cooled a bit on the back making his only bogey of the day at 16.
Gay started the day at even par, and his eight under 65 only brought him into a tie for 16th place.
Gary Woodland on the other hand fired a six under par 67, and pulled into a tie for fifth place. He is only three shots back at 11 under par, and could become a factor before this thing is over. Woodland has the distance to compete at Kapalua and is not out of this thing yet.
Action resumes for a rare Monday finish on the PGA Tour at 1:40PM Eastern this afternoon. The Golf Channel will begin at 4:00PM and follow until a champion is crowned.
Webb Simpson will tee it up with 2013 Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth when play gets underway for the Monday finish. Zach and Dustin Johnson will play together again on Monday.
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