Simpson is always a fan favorite at Sedgefield Country Club, having gone to school at nearby Wake Forest. He also earned his first PGA Tour victory at this event back in 2011, and when it came time to name his third child in the spring of 2014, he and wife Dowd opted for the name Wyndham.
His comfort level in Greensboro was again on full display Thursday, as Simpson played his first six holes in 5 under. He added two more birdies on Nos. 17-18 to make the turn in 28 and briefly entertain thoughts of becoming the third player this year to shoot a sub-60 number.
"I got a little excited thinking about I'm not that far off from 59, but on the cart ride to the first tee I tried to kind of put it aside and get the ball in the fairway," Simpson told reporters. "You don't have many opportunities out here to do it. Today was certainly one of them."
But Simpson bogeyed No. 1, his 10th hole of the day, and his momentum stalled out on the inward half. He still walked away with a 7-under 63 that left him two shots behind Matt Every in a tournament where he has finished T-11 or better five times in the last seven years.
Simpson enjoyed a home-course advantage at last week's PGA Championship at Quail Hollow, where he tied for 33rd, but he admitted to breathing a sigh of relief after escaping the pressures of a major championship and making the short drive from Charlotte to Greensboro.
"Coming to a tournament like this after, it's nice," Simpson said. "It's nice not having to walk around the clubhouse to get to the range and all that. It feels good to be here."