Simpson leads with record 36-hole total

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Chattanooga ClassicCHATTANOOGA, Tenn. ' Webb Simpson fired an 8-under 64 to remain in the lead Friday following a two-day shootout at the Chattanooga Classic.
 
Simpson broke the Nationwide Tour's 36-hole record for score in relation to par by finishing two rounds at an eye-opening 19-under-par 125.
 
The previous record stood at 18 under, set by Chris Nallen at the 2004 Gila River Golf Classic.
 
Simpson also tied the overall 36-hole scoring record that belonged to Jason Gore, who shot a 125 (17-under) through two rounds at the '02 Gila River Golf Classic.
 
'It's pretty cool,' Simpson said after making nine birdies and just one bogey. 'I have a number in mind for the four days. I think I'll keep it a secret.'
 
He wasn't the only player in the field who spent Friday chasing records.
 
Arjun Atwal made six consecutive birdies to end his round and nearly became the fourth player in the developmental tour's history to shoot a 59. Instead, Atwal set the course record with a 12-under 60 that moved him into a tie for second place with Scott Stallings (62) at 18-under 126.
 
Battling a bad back, Atwal was unsure if he would even play this week.
 
'I showed up Thursday and took a lot of pain-killers,' he said.
 
Atwal and Stallings were among four players who were double-digits under par at the par-72 Black Creek Club on Friday. The others, Bill Lunde and Michael Putnam, both shot 62s.
 
Stallings, a virtually unknown rookie on the Nationwide Tour, had already completed his round when Simpson arrived to the course. And he had moved seven shots ahead of the overnight leader.
 
'It made me think the scores were going to be low and there were plenty of birdies to be made,' said the 23-year-old Simpson, who is seeking his first Nationwide Tour win. 'I wasn't too worried. I was playing well so I just stuck to my game plan.'
 
Lunde was joined in a tie for fourth place by Matt Weibring (66) at 15-under 129. Only two more players were within five shots of Simpson's lead: Tom Gillis (64) and Skip Kendall (67), who shared sixth at 14-under 130.
 
The cut line fell at 6-under 138 -- one shot off the Nationwide Tour record for lowest cut. Sixty-seven players moved on to the weekend.
 
The first round was completed Friday after play was suspended due to darkness on Thursday.
 
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