Greenbrier Classic 2018: Webb Simpson Leads Field with 9-Under Round 1

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2018

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV - JULY 5 : Webb Simpson on the 12th hole tee box with his caddy Paul Tesori during round one of  A Military Tribute At The Greenbrier held at the Old White TPC course on July 5, 2018 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Michael Owens/Getty Images

The only thing that could slow Webb Simpson on Thursday during the first round of the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia was a bit of lightning that caused a nearly two-hour delay. 

Once that subsided Simpson electrified the course himself, shooting a nine-under 61 to lead the field after day one. 


Opening-round 61 from @webbsimpson1! 👏👏👏 It's the lowest round of his career on the PGA TOUR. https://t.co/ghMWP4INRj

Justin Ray @JustinRayGC

61 for @webbsimpson1, his 3rd round of 63 or better this season on the #PGATour - tied for most with Brooks Koepka and J.J. Spaun.

He wasn't the only player to light it up, with Whee Kim nipping on his heels at eight under, while Joaquin Niemann (seven under) and Kelly Craft (six under) remained close to the leader. 

Justin Ray @JustinRayGC

In the 100th start of his PGA Tour career, Whee Kim opens with 62, his lowest ever round on Tour.

But the story was Simpson, who hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and didn't miss a single putt within 10 feet, according to PGATour.com. He also had an average driving distance of 323.5 yards, a driving accuracy of 71.4 percent and gained 3.127 strokes putting. 

Simpson played early, with birdies on Nos. 1, 4 and 9, but he absolutely obliterated the back nine. After birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 as well, he chipped in for eagle on the 12th:


He walked it in! @webbsimpson1 goes 🐦-🐦-🐦-🦅 to tie the lead! #QuickHits https://t.co/WaBSertsz9

He saved par in superb fashion on the 13th:


.@THEPLAYERSChamp can make par from anywhere. #QuickHits https://t.co/EuwxEMdib7

And birdies on Nos. 14 and 16 secured his lead:


🚨 New leader! 🚨 @webbsimpson1 has it GOING in Round 1. #QuickHits https://t.co/NIRt8ukF0L


Another birdie from Webb and he's to -9! Something is happening @GBRMilitary ... 👀 #QuickHits https://t.co/ZVqePZTV4u

"I've had a good last couple days here after a week off," Simpson said after his round, per Grant Traylor of the Herald-Dispatch, in what was surely the understatement of the day.

As for other notable players, Phil Mickelson had a solid afternoon, shooting a four-under 66, including this eagle on No. 12:


Update: he made it. 🦅 https://t.co/kp9IFJhkT2

Brandt Snedeker (66) and Bubba Watson (68) also had solid rounds.

But everybody is chasing Simpson. If he continues to play like he did on Thursday, that chase will be in vain.