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Simpson cards 63 to grab 36-hole Vegas lead

Webb Simpson
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NORTH PLAINS, OR - AUGUST 18: Michelle Wie poses for a portrait during the Safeway Classic at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club on August 18, 2011 in North Plains, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)  - 

On another day of ideal scoring conditions, birdies continued to fall Friday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Here's how things stack up after the second round at TPC Summerlin, where a former major champion has separated from the field following a 63:

Leaderboard: Webb Simpson (-15), Jason Bohn (-11), J.J. Henry (-11), Chesson Hadley (-11), John Senden (-11), Jeff Overton (-11), Ryan Moore (-10)

What it means: After opening with a 64, Simpson carded his second straight low round in Las Vegas, and his third in a row overall dating back to his 63 in the final round of the Tour Championship last month. Still in search of his first win since the 2012 U.S. Open, Simpson now takes a four-shot lead into the weekend at TPC Summerlin, where two more low rounds will likely be needed in order to secure the trophy.

Round of the day: Following an opening round of 7-under 64, Simpson went one better Friday after a round that included nine birdies against just one bogey. The 28-year-old went out in 3-under 33 and ended with a flurry, carding birdies on four of his final six holes en route to an inward 30. Simpson continued to lean on a hot putter, as he now leads the field in strokes gained putting and sits second in putts per GIR through 36 holes.

Best of the rest: This week's defending champion, Moore shot a pedantic 69 in Thursday's opening round and was slow out of the gates Friday, playing his first three holes in 1 over. From there, though, the former UNLV standout turned things around in a hurry. Moore carded four straight birdies on holes 4-7, adding five more red figures across a seven-hole stretch from Nos. 10-16 en route to an 8-under 63. The round moved Moore to 10 under overall and in position to contend for his second consecutive Shriners title this weekend.

Biggest disappointment: What a difference a day makes. Andres Romero nearly led after 18 holes, carding a 10-under 61 that would have equaled the course record if not for Henry's opening round of 60 on Thursday. One day later, Romero struggled mightily, carding the day's single highest score (10-over 81) while playing his first 15 holes in 10 over, a stretch that included a triple-bogey 8 on the 16th hole. As a result, the Argentine will go from second place to slamming the trunk following a missed cut in the blink of an eye.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: While several players head into the weekend with a realistic chance to win, the focus will be upon Simpson, one of the top-ranked players in this week's field. Though he was a runner-up to Graeme McDowell in a playoff earlier this year at the RBC Heritage, Simpson's winless streak has now reached 16 months following his breakthrough at Olympic. Through 36 holes, he's played his way into position to potentially end that drought this week in Las Vegas.