Webb Simpson hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since 2013, but for the first two rounds of the Dean & DeLuca Invitational he played like the 2012 U.S. Open champion that he is.
Simpson collected six birdies while carding a 4-under-par 66 in more windy conditions at Colonial Country Club and is tied for the lead with Danny Lee of New Zealand, Kevin Kisner and Scott Piercy.
“It’s always tricky around here,” said Simpson (pictured), who has won four times on the PGA Tour, but not since the 2013 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. “Fairways are not easy to hit. But I kind of hung in there early.
“I didn’t get off to a great start, ball-striking wise, so I had to make a lot of putts for par and it was a little squirrelly here and there. I had a couple of good par putts and then made some good birdie putts at the end.”
The leaders posted scores of 6-under 134 through 36 holes.
Lee crafted a 64 that is the low round of the tournament, collecting seven birdies, while Piercy recorded a 66 and Kisner had a 67.
“I’m very excited; I haven’t been in contention for so long,” said Lee, whose only PGA Tour victory came in the 2014 Greenbrier Classic, in which he beat Kisner, Robert Streb and David Hearn of Canada in a playoff.
“I felt like my game had just gone away for a while. I had a great finish last week, a fifth place at (the AT&T) Byron Nelson. That gave me the great motivation to carry these great rounds over. I’m very looking forward to next couple days.”
Masters champion Sergio Garcia of Spain and Paul Casey of England shot 66s are one stroke back in a tie for fifth with rookie Jon Rahm of Spain, who had a 69, and Sean O’Hair, who came in at 68.
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who won the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, totaled 70 and was two shots back in solo ninth, while Tony Finau finished at 65 and was another stroke back in 10th.
Local favorite Jordan Spieth, the defending champion, carded a 68 and is four strokes behind in a tie for 11th.
Two-time Colonial winners Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson struggled to 75s and are eight shots back in a tie for 46th.