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Posted April 14, 2019 08:04 pm
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Simpson rolls along to fifth-place tie

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    Webb Simpson raises his putter after finishing the fourth hole during the final round of the Masters Tournament. [NIGEL COOK/FOR THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Blame Webb Simpson’s slow start in the final round of the Masters to a weather forecast that was too darned accurate.

After a scintillating 64 on Saturday, Simpson said he was hoping for “windy and tricky” conditions during Sunday’s final round, assuming the difficult weather could help him catch a field of big hitters through his precise shot-making.

But seeing that storms were expected to hit the region by mid-afternoon, tournament organizers pushed tee times up to the early morning, and the weather hardly played a factor.

A host of long drivers took advantage of Sunday’s early conditions, while Simpson struggled to 37 at the turn, slipping down the leaderboard.

PHOTOS: Final Round action at The Masters

He used that shot-making skill on the back nine, however, rolling in three birdies en route to a final-round 70 that earned him a tie for fifth.

That’s a vast improvement over any of Simpson’s other showings at Augusta National. His previous best was a tie for 20th last year. Simpson had missed the cut in three of his previous seven Masters.

Simpson used his craftiness on No. 13 as he went for the par-5 in two, missing the green to the left. The ball was in an awkward position on the side of an embankment, but the former Wake Forest star showed a deft touch in chipping it to eight feet, then he calmly rolled in the putt for birdie.

On the following hole, Simpson piped a drive down the middle of the par-4 No. 14, then grooved an iron five feet, leading to another birdie. After missing birdie putts down the stretch that could have got him closer to the lead, he made his last putt for birdie on No. 18.

It's his best finish of the calendar year and the best since a third-place finish at the RSM Classic in November.