FORT WORTH, Texas – When it comes to confidence, Webb Simpson admits that he can quickly race from one side of the spectrum to the other. The good runs are sustainable; the bad runs are that much more difficult to turn around.
Simpson appears to have found the formula this week at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, having followed an opening 65 with a 3-under 67. At 8 under, he holds the clubhouse lead and sits one shot behind Bryce Molder, who will return Saturday morning to complete his second round.
Simpson’s opening round at Colonial Country Club broke a run of 17 straight rounds in the 70s, and returning to the course the former U.S. Open champ knew that he needed to “validate” his fast start with another strong effort.
He was able to accomplish that goal – even if things weren’t quite as easy as they felt the day prior.
“It was kind of a grind,” Simpson said. “Just almost more satisfying today than yesterday because I managed my game and I think I only made one bogey and made a couple birdies coming in, so that was nice.”
Simpson has largely struggled to adjust to the anchoring ban that went into effect in January, but this week his putting has been a strong suit. After three weeks off, he turned up this week in Fort Worth with a new Odyssey putter. It’s a longer, belly-length version, but Simpson leans the shaft against his left forearm a la Matt Kuchar.
Simpson said that he had experimented with this particular putter before, but hadn’t considered using it in competition until this week.
“I tried it in the fall in the offseason, and it didn’t feel that good,” Simpson said. “I kind of shelved it and picked it back up a few weeks ago, and it feels pretty good. I don’t know what’s different. Same putter, and a few months later it feels better. Maybe I’ve grown or shrunk, I don’t know, it feels different.”
Simpson needed only 27 putts in the opening round, and he took just 28 putts Friday after finding 13 greens in regulation. Having broken his 70s streak and started a new streak of scores in the 60s, Simpson hopes to maintain his steady play on the greens this weekend.
“For a consistent two days, it’s been a long time,” he said. “I’m really thankful and I’m keeping it simple, and I think that’s been big for me.”