After shooting a two-over 72 during the first round of the 2013 PGA Championship, Webb Simpson didn't command much attention Thursday.
On Friday, he commanded the most attention on the course.
Needing a strong round to avoid missing the cut at Oak Hill, the 2012 U.S. Open winner did more than just vault back up the leaderboard. With a six-under 64 during the second round, Simpson tied the course record at Oak Hill and just missed tying a PGA Tour record for the fewest strokes in a round at a major by one stroke.
Ryan Lavner of the Golf Channel had the news on Twitter:
After a run at 62, Webb Simpson settles for 6-under 64, which matches course record here. More important: He's just 4 back.— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) August 9, 2013
As noted by Global Golf Post, Simpson's move up the leaderboard was also quite impressive:
A par on the final hole by Webb Simpson would tie course record at 64. He's climbed 71 spots on leaderboard today. Up to T3rd.— Global Golf Post (@GlobalGolfPost) August 9, 2013
He now shares the record with Ben Hogan (1942) and Curtis Strange (1989). Dan Jenkins of Golf Digest had that information on Twitter:
In danger: Oak Hill course record is 64 (Hogan and Strange). Webb Simpson is -5 through 13. And if he doesn't, somebody else might.— Dan Jenkins (@danjenkinsgd) August 9, 2013
Simpson had a chance to claim the record outright, but he dropped a stroke on No. 7 (his 16th hole) and couldn't regain his footing over the final two holes of his afternoon. Although he had to "settle" for just the course record, Simpson had himself a day.
To put the icing on the cake, the 28-year-old also broke a personal record, according to PGA Tour's official Twitter account:
Webb Simpson's lowest round in a major is 66 (2011 U.S. Open; 2011 Open Championship). Three pars would be 63. #PGATOUR— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 9, 2013
Starting his day on the back nine, Simpson didn't pull any punches on Friday.
He birdied three of his first five holes, and managed to add four more on his first six holes of the front nine. Heading into the final three holes, Simpson needed just one birdie and two pars to shoot an unprecedented 62—no one has ever done that before at any of the four majors.
USA Today's Steve DiMeglio noted as much as Simpson approached No. 7:
After birdie at 6, moving him to -7 for the day and -5 for tourney, Webb Simpson needs 1 more bird without bogey to shoot 1st 62 in major— Steve DiMeglio (@Steve_DiMeglio) August 9, 2013
His only bogey of the afternoon came at a time when he needed to stay above the Mendoza line. Dropping a shot and still sitting on a chance to break the record with two birdies on his final two holes, Simpson just missed a chance to get that streak started at No. 8.
PGATour.com's Brian Wacker was watching as Simpson's birdie chance came up short:
Webb Simpson burns the edge on No. 8. No 62 but birdie on last would give him 63. Par would tie course record. #pgachamp— Brian Wacker (@pgatour_brianw) August 9, 2013
He would par his final hole of the afternoon (No. 9) to finish at six under.
Who will win the 2013 PGA Championship?
Simpson, who was the Round 1 leader at Firestone and the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week, put together an up-and-down performance in the opening round of the final major of the 2013 season.
With six bogeys and a double-bogey, Simpson limped to a two-over finish on Thursday. He managed to salvage the round with six birdies, but heading into Round 2, he knew he needed to take advantage of the way Oak Hill's East Course was playing.
He did just that, etching his name in the history books in the process.