Simpson Leads RSM Classic by 1 After 65

Webb Simpson was one of the pre-tournament favorites heading into the RSM Classic and he’s right where a lot of people expected him to be.

Simpson birdied his last three holes to shoot 7-under-par 65 on the Plantation Course and take a one-stroke lead over Cameron Tringale, Kyoung-Hoon Lee of South Korea and Rhein Gibson of Australia after one round at Sea Island Resort in St. Simons Island, Ga.

“It was solid, although I got off to a sluggish start and was 1-over on the first five holes,” said Simpson, who has won five times on the PGA Tour, including the 2012 U.S. Open and the 2018 Players Championship. “But there are birdies to be had out three and I was able to turn it around and start making birdies on (the second nine).

“It’s windy here, like at Hilton Head, and you have to keep the ball on the ground. I love the re-design (of the Plantation Course). There’s a lot of water around and you have to shape the ball to the hole.”

Simpson, who tied for second in the 2011 RSM Classic and was third last year, started on the back nine and took his only bogey at No. 11, but made two birdies before the turn and then birdied six holes to card a 30 coming home.

Tringale, who is from Laguna Niguel in Southern California but has a bit of a local following since he played at Georgia Tech, posted a 6-under-par 64 that included three straight birdies through No. 17 on the Seaside Course, where Lee made three birdies in a row through No. 8 in a bogey-free 64.

Gibson totaled 6-under 66 on the Plantation, where he birdied five of the last six holes on the back nine.

Golfers play each course in the first two rounds before the last two are played entirely on the host Seaside Course.

Sebastian Munoz of Colombia, who claimed his first PGA Tour victory earlier this season in the Sanderson Farms Championship, is in a tie for fifth after a 5-under 67 on the Plantation that was equaled by Tyler Duncan, Brian Harman, Alex Cejka of Germany, Rory Sabbatini of Slovakia, Nick Taylor of Canada and Hank Lebioda.

Scott Harrington and Scott Brown also in the tie for fifth after carding 5-under 65s on the Seaside.

Defending champion Charles Howell III and tournament host Davis Love III are in a tie for 43rd after shooting 2-under 70 on the Seaside Course.

Johnson Wagner provided the shot of the day when he holed his second shot from 256 yards for a double each on the 15th hole of the Seaside Course en route to a 3-under 67 and is tied for 31st.

It was the third albatross for Wagner in his PGA Tour career, tying Tim Petrovic for the most since officials started keeping track in 1983.

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