Posted by Will Brinson
GREENSBORO, NC -- It takes a lot to outdraw some of the names -- say, Ernie Els -- that were on the Wyndham Championship leaderboard Sunday. Or just the city of Raleigh. Webb Simpson had the latter loudly behind him as he stormed down the back nine in Greensboro, birdieing two of the last four holes en route to a three-stroke, 18-under win.
"I never thought winning on the PGA Tour would be this hard," Simpson said Sunday. "All the pressure and everything that goes on to win a golf tournament. But I'm extremely pleased and I really love the way I finished today. I thought my caddie and I did a really good job coming in and choosing clubs.
"It was just a fun week and I really couldn't think of a better place to win here in Greensboro."
The Wyndham, proclaimed the "best tournament we've had in 20 years" by director Mark Brazil, was flush with Simpson's family, friends and other Triangle transplants (Webb is from Raleigh and lives in Charlotte), pastel crowds packed along the course, following Webb and cheering his every shot.
"The one thing that helps is when you're playing in one of the last groups, there are already so many people so everybody kind of blends in," Simpson said. "It would probably be harder if there were 100 people watching and I knew every one of them. So having the big crowd out there I think it helped relieve some of the pressure. But I took away so many positives from playing with the home crowd. They were great all week and really cheered me on."
There was ample room for drama on the back nine here in Greensboro, and given Simpson's (perceived?) struggles to close tournaments out, it wasn't unreasonable to expect some spiciness on the final holes, especially when George McNeill vaulted himself to 15-under -- just a stroke back of Webb -- with a beasty 7-under Sunday.
"Honestly, I thought it was going to be a lot lower," McNeil said about the winning score following his round. "I was just trying to play as well as I could. I can only control myself. I can't control what everybody else does."
There really wasn't much he could do to stop Simpson, who answered the call just minutes after McNeil's name popped up on underneath his, posting back-to-back birdies on the par-5 15th and par-3 16th and giving himself a three-stroke cushion that he held onto for the remaining holes.
Behind McNeil was Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey, who managed a third-place finish despite struggling his way to through the course on Sunday. Vijay Singh finished in the top-10 at the Wyndham for the fourth time in eight times playing here and a led a group of players tied at fourth (13-under) that includes Jerry Kelly, Kyung-tae Kim, Charles Howell, III, and Carl Pettersson.
Pettersson, the 2008 Wyndham champion, struggled mightily on the back nine and ended up finishing just 1-under for the day.
"I'm disappointed. I'm a competitor," Pettersson said. "I wanted to win this one badly, but Webb outplayed us all."
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