Two rounds down at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and Webb Simpson has shot to the top of the leaderboard on the power of 36 absolutely ridiculous holes of golf.
Simpson found himself four shots off the lead after Thursday’s opening round at TPC Summerlin, but that was more a function of J.J. Henry‘s record-breaking round of 60, which put him at 11-under to open. Simpson actually played one of the best rounds of the day, hitting 17 of 18 fairways on his way to a bogey-free round of 64.
Surprising as it is, he was almost better on Friday. Despite making his first (and, so far, only) bogey of the tournament, he still hit 15 greens and sank nine birdie putts. At the time of this posting, Simpson’s score of -15 is good for a four-stroke lead over John Senden, Jeff Overton, and Chesson Hadley, none of whom shot better than a 66.
As the cut looms, any lead Simpson may hold heading into the weekend should give him a huge advantage. The last time Simpson won was at the 2012 U.S. Open. At San Francisco’s Olympic Club that week, Simpson won by not allowing himself to get too low, knowing that the key to victory was to keep grinding out pars. This week is about the polar opposite, but he admits that patience is still important.
“I think the one synonymous thing is patience, because the U.S. Open you obviously have to remain patient because you’re not going to make many birdies,” Simpson said in an interview on the PGA Tour‘s official website. “But here it’s not like every hole is a birdie hole so you have to remain patient because birdie runs come. You have to stay patient because you’ll get on those runs too.”
The rest of the field has been put on notice. Webb Simpson has put himself in prime position to take an early-season victory, and it’s going to be an uphill climb to unseat him.