Webb Simpson reacts after sinking a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole… (Greg M. Cooper / US Presswire )
Reporting from Norton, Mass. -- As Webb Simpson lined up a long, curling birdie try to wrap up his final round at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday, a weird thought popped into his head.
"How am I going to react if this goes in?" recalled Simpson, also sharing the quick self-reprimand. "Then I told myself I'm an idiot — I'm getting way too far ahead of myself."
The putt dropped, which Simpson punctuated with a fist pump from over the top. He used it again after a similar 15-footer to extend his playoff against Chez Reavie.
Hey, the guy might be onto something. A third straight birdie finished off the playoff, his second win in a three-week stretch that moved the 26-year-old pro to the top of the FedEx Cup points chase.
"I don't really know what to think right now," said Simpson, whose victory in Greensboro, N.C., was the first of his PGA Tour career.
"I told somebody last week … that next time I was in contention it'll be a lot easier than Greensboro. It wasn't that way at all."
Not on a day in which seven players held at least a share of the lead, rising quickly along the TPC Boston's front nine and then struggling after the turn. Simpson's six-under-par 65 nearly wasn't enough, as he made the playoff only when Reavie bogeyed No. 18.
Laying up on the par-five finale, Reavie airmailed his wedge to the back grandstand. A tricky chip rolled 10 feet past the pin, and his par putt broke an inch too early.
"It's definitely difficult to think about," said Reavie, who shot a 66. "I'm going to make a [par] there nine times out of 10. Unfortunately, it was the only bogey I had all day. The wind kind of got me there and I pulled it just a touch."
Reavie could take solace in a guaranteed slot in the FedEx Cup finale — a huge accomplishment for someone who began 2011 on a medical exemption and briefly lost his card before the FedEx postseason began.
Reavie and Simpson completed regulation play at 15-under 269, two shots ahead of Brandt Snedeker (66), Luke Donald (67) and Jason Day (68).
Simpson's exuberance on the final hole of regulation drew some good-natured ribbing from caddie Paul Tesori, who figured all the putt would bring was sole possession of second place. Not only did Reavie still hold a one-stroke advantage, all he had left was TPC Boston's easiest hole.
"I said the tournament's over," Tesori said. "No way [Reavie is] going to bogey this hole."
Even Simpson acknowledged that getting to a playoff was maybe a "one in 100" shot. "I felt pretty lucky to get into a playoff," he said.
It was the right time to brandish a hot putter, though, as the North Carolina native one-putted seven of his final eight holes. Simpson's three finishing birdies alone covered 50 feet of territory — 27, 15 and 8 feet.
"He believes in himself and his ability," Tesori said. "He doesn't lose faith."
Monday also produced some drama at the bottom of the FedEx Cup standings, where Ernie Els and Geoff Ogilvy played their way into BMW Championship berths with birdies at the final hole.
Els moved up to 68th in the points race and Ogilvy to 69th, with the top 70 advancing to the series' next stop.