'My old teammate shot 61 to win here,' said Simpson, referring to his Wake Forest teammate Kyle Reifers, who shot a 61 en route to victory two years ago. 'It's good. It's early though, 54 holes to go.'
The first round was suspended due to darkness with 16 players yet to finish. They will return to Black Creek Club at 8:40 a.m. (ET) Friday to polish off the round.
Skip Kendall, Kris Blanks and Matt Weibring each posted rounds of 9-under- par 63 and are tied for second place. Scott Stallings is 8-under par through 17 holes and is alone in fifth place.
Simpson started on the 10th tee Thursday and birdied two of his first three holes. At the par-5 14th, Simpson drained a 5-foot birdie putt that kicked off a run of five straight birdies that ended with a 7-footer at No. 18.
Simpson made the turn in 29 and had one more big run left in him. He parred his first three holes on his second nine, then tallied four birdies in a row from the fourth.
And after the birdie at seven, Simpson started thinking of the magic number.
'I was thinking that (59) after I birdied the seventh,' admitted Simpson.
Simpson ran his birdie putt 6 feet past the hole at the eighth, but made the six-footer coming back for par. Simpson needed an eagle at the ninth for 59, but settled for par and a spot in the tournament's record book.
Scott Gutschewski, Gary Christian, Matt Hansen, Ian Leggatt, David Branshaw, Bryce Molder, Geoffrey Sisk and Ricky Barnes are knotted in sixth place at 7-under-par 65.
Brendon de Jonge, the leading money winner on the Nationwide Tour, shot a 5-under 67 and is part of a large group tied for 27th place.