ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. (AP) – Webb Simpson birdied seven of his last 10 holes at the Plantation Course on Thursday for a 7-under 65 and the first-round lead in the RSM Classic, the final PGA Tour event of the year.
The top-ranked player in the field at No. 12, Simpson is coming off a six-week break since tying for seventh in Las Vegas.
â€œI only have a week off before Tiger’s tournament and we leave from there for the Presidents Cup, so I’ve had my time off,â€ Simpson said. â€œI’ve been home a lot lately, so it’s nice to get back at it.â€
He began the birdie run on the par-5 18th and played the front nine in 6-under 30 with birdies on Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9.
â€œI grew up going to the beach in Wilmington, so I just love any time I get close to the coast here or Hilton Head, I just love it. That combined with enjoying the golf courses, my family’s coming, so it’s a good week for me.â€
Three players were 6 under. Cameron Tringale and Kyoung-Hoon Lee shot 64 on Sea Islandâ€™s Seaside Course, and Rhein Gibson had a 66 on the Plantation layout. The final two rounds will be played on the Seaside Course.
â€œI think you play what the course gives you and if you’re in position, you’ve got to take advantage of good drives and short putts into these holes,â€ Tringale said. â€œBut if you’re not in play in the right place, it can be really brutal out here. â€œ
Brendon Todd opened with his bid for third straight victory with a 66 on the Seaside Course. Heâ€™s coming off victories in the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Tournament host Davis Love III had a 68 on the Seaside Course.