HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Webb Simpson celebrated another Father’s Day victory, this time with a plaid jacket instead of a US Open trophy.
In a wild sprint to the finish after a three-hour storm delay, Simpson walked away five birdies in a six-hole nine-back stretch in Harbor Town and finished with a 7-under 64 for a one-time win over Abraham Ancer.
Simpson won the US Open at Olympic Club in 2012. The US Open is planned to end on Father’s Day every year since 1976, but it was moved to September this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RBC Heritage filled the spot on the program, and Simpson, now the father of five, was the second winner this year with a record score in Harbor Town.
He didn’t have much choice with so many low scores on a soft course with little wind. He finished 22-under 262 and broke Brian Gay’s two tournament record in 2009.
“It was a crazy day,” said Simpson. “I didn’t get it before noon and then the putts started to go in and I started to feel confident. It’s great to be here now.”
Simpson, who won the Phoenix Open in February, moved to number 5 in the world. He also reached the top of the FedEx Cup.
It was a tough runner-up finish for Ancer, who tried to become the fifth consecutive RBC Heritage winner to achieve his first PGA Tour win in Harbor Town. He hit all 18 greens in regulation and tied the lead with a daring fairway metal over the trees to the par-5 15th that set up a two-well birdie. He also stayed in the game with a birdie on the 17th.
Ancer shot 65.
There was simply no Simpson to catch, whose only birdies on the par 5s were on the front nine until he couldn’t miss. He rolled into 10-foot and 20-foot birdie putts on the 12th and 13th, two-putted for birdie on the 15th, and then sealed it with two more 15-foot and 18-foot birdies.
Colonial winner Daniel Berger also stayed in the mix by chasing for birdie on the 17th and finishing with a 65. Tyrrell Hatton, whose last tournament was his win in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, led to a bad tee shot led to bogey on the 13th, and bogeys were hard to recover on this day. He shot 66 and finished third.
Dylan Frittelli had filled the low score of a tournament, a 62 that gave him the lead before the last groups even declined. Justin Thomas had a 63 and tied it. Both knew it wouldn’t last, especially after returning from a storm delay to quiet and even milder conditions.
But it led to a carousel of contenders, and even Brooks Koepka got into the mix.
Koepka hit the driver on the nine hundredth hole of 331 meters that punched on the slope above the bunker and settled a meter in front of his eagle. He birdied the next two to get in one of the lead, but his hopes ended with a 5-foot birdie putt that he missed on the par-5 15th. Koepka missed a few 5-foot par putts on the front nine.
He finished with a 65 and finished seventh, his best result since the Tour Championship.
“Six months off – three with the lock down and then three on my knee – so yeah, it feels like it’s really been a long time since I’ve even felt any juices,” Koepka said. “It just felt nice to participate.”
Rory McIlroy finished with a 70 and finished 41st, his second consecutive result out of the top 30 after seven consecutive events worldwide with no finish worse than the fifth.
The PGA Tour is now heading to Connecticut for the Travelers Championship and it is not yet known who will play until the coronavirus tests are released to those on the charter flight.
The uncertainty stems from the first positive test – Nick Watney on Friday – along with 11 tests for those in close contact with Watney. Until the first tournament in Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, the Harbor Town area was busy with the start of summer vacation.
Those not on the charter will be tested on arrival in Connecticut. Any positive test means that a player must withdraw.