Greenbrier Classic 2012: Webb Simpson Continues to Show He's a Rising Star

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 7, 2012

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - JULY 5: Webb Simpson (L) and Tiger Woods walk off the tee box on the sixth hole during the first round of the Greenbrier Classic at the Old White TPC on July 5, 2012 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Remember that guy in 2010 who had two top-10 finishes in 31 PGA Tour events and missed the cut 13 times?

Well, that same guy won the U.S. Open this year, and he's leading the Greenbrier Classic through two rounds.

Not a bad turnaround.

Webb Simpson, 26, has risen dramatically since 2010. Last year, he had 12 top-10 finishes in 26 Tour events, including victories at the Deutsche Bank Championship and Wyndham Championship. In his first appearances at the U.S. Open and British Open, he finished in the top 20.

In 2012, Simpson has five top-10 finishes, tied for fourth on Tour. That, of course, includes his eye-opening performance at the challenging Olympic Club in San Francisco where he shot a one-over-par 281 to capture the U.S. Open.

Now, at the Greenbrier Classic, Simpson is once again challenging for a Tour win. After shooting a four-under-par 66 on Friday, Simpson has the lead at the Old White TPC with a nine-under-par 131.

Through two rounds, Simpson has 10 birdies and only one bogey. Headed into Greenbrier, Simpson led the Tour in birdies per round (4.06, per ESPN). He also ranked second in putting per hole (1.725) and 12th in greens in regulation (67.5 percent).

What you are seeing is a golfer on the rise. At the end of 2010, Simpson ranked 213th on Tour. At the end of 2011, Simpson ranked 10th. Now Simpson is ranked fifth, with a chance to rise even further up the official board.

Not bad for a golfer who turned pro just four years ago.

For those who have been surprised by Simpson's latest run, the signs were there even last year. He's a legitimate rising star who is just beginning to realize his potential.

Watch out, golf. Here comes Webb Simpson.


Follow me on Twitter. We can talk about golf together.

Follow RyanRudnansky on Twitter