LAS VEGAS — Webb Simpson opened a four-stroke lead on 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.
Langer, Forsbrand, Mast share lead
CONOVER, N.C. — Bernhard Langer is looking for every opportunity to make up ground on Kenny Perry in the Champions Tour’s season point standings.
If Langer has a few more rounds like he had Friday, there’s a good chance he’ll be in the running for the $1 million annuity that goes to the season champion.
The two-time Masters champion birdied the final hole Friday for a 6-under 64 and a share of the first-round lead with Anders Forsbrand and Dick Mast in the Greater Hickory Classic. Perry opened with a 68.
Hedblom takes 2-stroke lead in Perth
PERTH, Australia — Peter Hedblom shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the Perth International.
The Swede, who is at 7-under 137, is two strokes ahead of Ross Fisher, who had the lowest round of the day with a 5-under 67.
“It’s been two great days,” Hedblom said. “But my golf is strange right now, because I hit really good shots, and some really poor shots, but my putting has been good. So it’s great right now to be leading.”
Amy Yang tied for lead in South Korea
INCHEON, South Korea — Amy Yang overcame early jitters while playing in her home country, shooting a 5-under 67 on Friday 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 Katherine Hull-Kirk of Australia, South Korean compatriot Ju Young Pak and Anna Nordqvist of Sweden. Another Swede, Caroline Hedwall, was a stroke behind.
“It’s been a long time since I played in Korea, so I had a lot of family and friends around me,” said Yang, whose lone bogey came on the first hole. “So in the beginning I was a little bit nervous, but later on I had better concentration and focus.”
Nordqvist is trying to break a four-year winless drought.
“I feel like I put myself in a couple of good positions,” she said. “I just haven’t really finished well.”
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.
Since the tournament began in 2002, a South Korean has won seven of the 11 years.