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May 5 2012

10:53 PM

Stakes are high for Simpson on Sunday

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Webb Simpson is a member at the Quail Hollow Club and has played the course frequently in the 18 months he's made his home less than a mile away.

Eleven of those rounds have been in competition, but none with the stakes as high as on Sunday when Simpson takes a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Wells Fargo Championship.

The leaderboard is a crowded one with Ryan Moore and D.A. Points one stroke behind at 13 under after rounds of 69 and 68, respectively. Simpson's houseguest Nick Watney, the second0round leader, is another stroke back, tied with Rory McIlroy, who won the tournament in 2010 with a course-record 62 on Sunday.

There are nine players within four strokes of Simpson’s lead and 13 sitting six strokes off the pace where the largest come-from-behind win took place in 2005 as Vijay Singh overtook Sergio Garcia.  Among those at 11 under is the popular youngster Rickie Fowler, seeking the first PGA TOUR victory of his career.

"I don't want to get ahead of myself," Simpson said. "I look at the leaderboard and there's so many great players within a shot or two. So I know it's going to be a tough day. I know I can go out and shoot 4 under and get beat by two or three. 

"This is one of those golf courses where if conditions are right you can get a string of birdies going. You saw McIlroy a few years ago shoot 10 under. Knowing that, my expectations aren't too high. Obviously I want to go out there and try to win, but all I can do is kind of control what we're doing."

Simpson will be seeking his third TOUR win in his last 17 starts dating back to last August’s Wyndham Championship, which he won before a nearly-home-crowd in Greensboro, just 90 miles from Charlotte and 30 from Wake Forest where he went to college. Simpson has nine top-10 finishes during that stretch, as well.

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