Webb Simpson opens 4-shot lead in Las Vegas

Webb Simpson opened a four-stroke lead Friday in the Shriners
Hospitals for Children Open, taking advantage of perfect scoring
conditions at TPC Summerlin on Friday.

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.

”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.

J.J. Henry followed his course-record 60 with a 71 to join John
Senden, Jeff Overton, Chesson Hadley and Jason Bohn at 11 under.
Bohn had a 64, Senden and Hadley shot 66, and Overton had a 68.

”I need to keep on making birdies out there,” Senden said.
”It’s not as much building a score, it’s just about doing a great
job on making birdies, and if that’s good enough to do it, well,
hopefully it’ll be me.”

Hadley, the Web.com Tour Championship winner last month, is
making his fourth career PGA Tour start. He tied for 72nd last week
in California in the season-opening Frys.com Open.

”It was a great day,” Hadley said. ”It’s been a fantastic
start to the week, and to be at 11 under and to have a chance going
into the weekend is awesome. I’ve been in this position before as
far as Web.com Tour, and certainly a little bit different stage out
here on the PGA Tour. Just looking to manage the nerves tomorrow
and just realize it’s just golf, and let’s just go have some
fun.”

Henry had three bogeys and a birdie on his first four holes.

Defending champion Ryan Moore and Russell Knox were 10 under.
Moore shot 63, and Knox had a 65.

Argentina’s Andres Romero, second after a first-round 61, had an
81 to miss the cut.

Zach Johnson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 11
in the world, made a cut on the number at 3 under after a 70. Jimmy
Walker, Frys.com Open last week in California, also was 3 under
after a 68.