Webb Simpson shot an 8-under 63 to reach 15 under. He had nine birdies and a bogey — on the par-5 16th in his opening nine. (Julie Jacobson / Associated Press)
Las Vegas — Webb Simpson opened a four-stroke lead Friday in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, taking advantage of perfect scoring conditions at TPC Summerlin.
Making his first start since helping the U.S. win the Presidents Cup, the 2012 U.S. Open champion shot an 8-under 63 to reach 15 under. He had nine birdies and a bogey — on the par-5 16th in his opening nine.
“The ball is really going far,” Simpson said. “I was wondering why the scores were so low yesterday morning because I thought the ball might go a little shorter. But the ball was getting out there and the golf course played a little shorter than I thought it would, and I just putted well and kept going.
The 63 matched the lowest round of his PGA Tour career.
“There’s no wind, no clouds in the sky and it’s really quiet, so it’s easy to kind of daydream,” Simpson said. “You’ve really got to focus on what you’re doing and talk to your caddie, at least for me. I talk to him about what we’re trying to do here, where we’re trying to hit the ball.”
The four-stroke lead broke the tournament second-round record of three set by Lon Hinkle in 1984 and matched by Rich Fehr in 1996 — both when the event was 90 holes.
J.J. Henry followed his course-record 60 with a 71 to join John Senden, Jeff Overton, Chesson Hadley and Jason Bohn at 11 under. Bohn had a 64, Senden and Hadley shot 66, and Overton had a 68.
“I need to keep on making birdies out there,” Senden said. “It’s not as much building a score, it’s just about doing a great job on making birdies, and if that’s good enough to do it, well, hopefully it’ll be me.”
Hadley, the Web.com Tour Championship winner last month, is making his fourth career PGA Tour start. He tied for 72nd last week in California in the season-opening Frys.com Open.
“It was a great day,” Hadley said. “It’s been a fantastic start to the week, and to be at 11 under and to have a chance going into the weekend is awesome. I’ve been in this position before as far as Web.com Tour, and certainly a little bit different stage out here on the PGA Tour. Just looking to manage the nerves tomorrow and just realize it’s just golf, and let’s just go have some fun.”
Henry had three bogeys and a birdie on his first four holes.
Defending champion Ryan Moore and Russell Knox were 10 under. Moore shot 63, and Knox had a 65.
Argentina’s Andres Romero, second after a first-round 61, had an 81 to miss the cut.
Zach Johnson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 11 in the world, made a cut on the number at 3 under after a 70. Jimmy Walker, Frys.com Open last week in California, also was 3 under after a 68.
Keb Hanabank Championship
Incheon, South Korea — Amy Yang overcame early jitters while playing in her home country, shooting a 5-under 67 to finish in a four-way tie for the lead after the first round of the KEB HanaBank Championship.
With friends and family in the gallery, Yang had six birdies, including five straight beginning at the fourth hole. She was tied with Australia’s Katherine Hull-Kirk, South Korean compatriot Ju Young Pak and Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist of Sweden. Another Swede, Caroline Hedwall, was a stroke behind.
Michelle Wie eagled the par-5 18th and was at 69 with six others, including defending champion Suzann Pettersen and Brittany Lang.
Inbee Park, who leads the money list and the player of the year rankings, had bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13 and was at 70. American teenager Lexi Thompson, who won the LPGA Malaysia on Sunday for her second career title, shot a 71. Also at 71 was South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi, who won this tournament in 2009 and 2010.
Greater Hickory Classic
Conover, N.C. — Bernhard Langer birdied the final hole for a 6-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead with Anders Forsbrand and Dick Mast in the Greater Hickory Classic.
Langer, a two-time winner this season on the Champions Tour, and Forsbrand each had seven birdies and a bogey, and Mast had six birdies in a bogey-free round on the reconfigured Rock Barn Golf and Spa layout.
After flooding in July damaged the Jones Course, tournament officials cobbled together 18 holes that they are calling the “Champions Course.” Nos. 10-18 from the Jackson Course are being used as the front nine and Nos. 1-6 and 16-18 from the Jones Course — the usual tournament venue — make up the back nine.
Olin Browne and John Riegger, the Boeing Classic winner in August, were a stroke back.
Perth, Australia — Sweden’s Peter Hedblom shot a 3-under 69 to take a two-stroke lead over England’s Ross Fisher after the second round of the Perth International.
Hedblom was 7 under overall at Lake Karrinyup in event sanctioned by the European and Australasian tours. He needs a victory to retain his European Tour card.
Fisher had a 67, the best score of the day.
Defending champion Bo Van Pelt was tied for eighth at 3 under after a 71. Fellow American Dustin Johnson was tied for 21st at 1 under after a 74.