Webb Simpson narrowly missed out on a carding a sub-60 score on the opening day of the Greenbrier Classic but he still holds a one-shot advantage at the top of the leaderboard.
The former US Open winner was looking to become just the eighth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a sub-60 score and he looked to be on course to achieve that feat after three successive birdies at the turn and an eagle at the 12th moved him onto seven-under for the day.
However, a two-hour rain delay disrupted the 32-year-old’s rhythm and although he was still able to add a further two birdies to his score, he ultimately had to settle for a nine-under-par round of 61.
Simpson was understandably slightly disappointed not to shoot a sub-60 score, but he was pleased with his overall performance on what was a low-scoring day in West Virginia.
“I knew a 59 was in there, but it’s alright,” Simpson said. “Great start. Scores were good, though, so you’ve got to keep the pedal down.”
The world number 21 is priced at 3.40 to go on and win what would be his second PGA Tour triumph of the season, following on from his victory at The Players Championship in May.
South Korean Whee Kim is Simpson’s nearest rival on eight-under and his opening round was made all the more impressive as he had to recover from back-to-back bogies on his front nine.
Chilean teenager Joaquin Niemann is also in contention on seven-under, while American Kelly Kraft is three shots off the lead after they shot respective opening rounds of 63 and 64.