Webb Simpson trailed Tony Finau by two strokes with two holes remaining in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, but birdies on the final two holes at TPC Scottsdale sent the tournament into a sudden death playoff in which 2012 U.S. Open champion would prevail after a birdie on the first hole.
Finau had the chance to win it outright in regulation when he had a birdie opportunity on No. 18 that followed a 366-yard drive.
“Today was a lot different. Today played tougher,” Simpson said after winning his sixth PGA Tour title. “I thought the pins were very tough, by far the toughest day of pins, course was longer, we had wind. We hadn’t had wind all week, so everything today was harder.”
The victory was Simpson’s first PGA Tour title since winning the 2018 Players Championship.
The PGA Tour cut the pin position in a tribute to Kobe Bryant on the famed par-3 16th hole. They used Bryant’s two Los Angeles Lakers uniform numbers to place the pin 24 yards from the front and 8 yards from the left, putting it in the back left corner. The flag had an 8 on one side and a 24 on the other.
Finau donned a Lakers jersey while Justin Thomas was clad in Bryant’s No. 33 from his high school days at Lower Merion.
Thomas tied for third with Bubba Watson and Nate Lashley at -14 while Max Homa and Scott Piercy tied for sixth at -13.
Notables in the field included Jon Rahm (T9, -11), Hideki Matsuyama (T16, -10), Xander Schauffele (T16, -10), Collin Morikawa (T25, -9), Rickie Fowler (T37, -7) and Bryson DeChambaeu (T52, -2).
Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Scottie Scheffler and Brandt Snedeker were among the big names to miss the cut in Phoenix.
Next up on the PGA Tour is the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Familiar faces in the field include Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Max Homa, Matt Kuchar and Kevin Kisner.
Graeme McDowell won the Saudi International for his first European Tour event since 2014.
Dustin Johnson finished two shots behind McDowell for a solo second, one shot ahead of Phil Mickelson and Thomas Pieters.
Brooks Koepka finished in a tie for 17th.