Webb Simpson leads RSM Classic

By Sports Desk November 21, 2019

Webb Simpson carded a seven-under-par 65 to lead the RSM Classic after the opening round.

Simpson was almost flawless as the American golfer earned a one-stroke lead in Georgia on Thursday.

Playing on Sea Island's Plantation Course – the easier of the two courses used this week – Simpson overcame a slow start, which saw him bogey his second hole.

Simpson was one over par before playing his final 13 holes in eight under to take the first-round lead ahead of Cameron Tringale and Lee Kyoung-hoon – who each played on the Seaside Course – and Rhein Gibson.

"He told me, no matter how I started out, to stay patient," Simpson said of caddie Paul Tesori's advice. "I think he knew scores would be good over there [on the Plantation Course]. He helped me weather the storm."

Simpson – a five-time PGA Tour champion without a win since May 2018 – carded six of his eight birdies on his back nine, closing out the round with three in a row.

"It's been awhile since I've won," 2012 U.S. Open winner Simpson said. "I've given myself chances here. Starting this week, all I wanted was a chance Sunday because I do feel comfortable here."

Scott Harrington, Tyler Duncan, Brian Harman, Alex Cejka, Rory Sabbatini, Scott Brown, Sebastian Munoz, Nick Taylor and Hank Lebioda are five under heading into the second round.

Meanwhile, defending champion Charles Howell III is five strokes off the pace.

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    The Englishman first appeared on the circuit in 1998 and had three runner-up finishes and a pair of third places to his name across his career before this week, but the first win had proven elusive.

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    Bland made birdie at the 18th with a putt from almost 30 feet for a six-under 66 to set the clubhouse target, but Migliozzi joined him on that mark by picking up shots at the 15th and 16th holes.

    It would have been a nervy wait for Bland as Migliozzi targeted the birdie in the closing two holes that would have brought him the title, but the 24-year-old could not make it happen as he settled for a 68, triggering the play-off.

    When Migliozzi missed from around 10 feet for par at the first extra hole - the 18th - Bland had the chance to slot the winning putt from close range, and he made no mistake.

    "I've done it," said an emotional Bland on Sky Sports. "My game had been trending in the right way and I'd worked really hard, as you know we've worked so hard on the wedges."

    Interviewed by his coach Tim Barter, Bland, who collects €339,278 for his win, said: "I just drove the ball so well this week. I've gone back to my old driver. Round here - especially for me, I'm not the longest on tour - so I've got to hit fairways and I've probably missed single-digit fairways all week.

    "If I have missed one it's been by a couple of inches. I came off a pretty decent week last week and a top 10 [last month] in Gran Canaria so I knew my game was in decent shape."

    Finland's Mikko Korhonen shared third place on 12 under with England's Dave Coupland and Polish player Adrian Meronk, with another Englishman in Andy Sullivan tied for sixth with South African Dean Burmester.

    Tournament host Danny Willett finished at nine under, the same mark as fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell who was the overnight leader but struggled on the final day, a one-over 73 seeing him slide down the leaderboard to a share of 11th place.

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