Hard to imagine being disappointed when you are a record-tying 15-under after two rounds at The Players.
Hard to imagine a guy getting to a mind-boggling 11-under par for the day after 16 holes around the Stadium Course.
Even harder to imagine that a guy could go that low then mess up a record round at the devilish 17th.
But that’s what transpired for Webb Simpson on a wild ride of a Friday round.
“It was a lot of fun,” Simpson said in a total understatement after he double-bogeyed 17 then righted his ship with a closing par at 18.
All he did was add a course record-tying 63 to his opening 66 and he’s in the record books, tying Jason Day’s 36-hole mark.
“Everything was working today,” said Simpson who made a huge move with six straight birdies on the back nine, starting at the 11th hole. That tied a Players mark and it was the first time Simpson has done that in his career. He was totally in the zone.
“It was a special day,” Simpson said after he scorched the place.
His sand wedge into the short 17th was his only bad swing. “I tried to smash it,” he recounted. It simply didn’t carry far enough. It hit directly on a front wooden railroad tie, bounced high in the air, caught the back of the green then rolled into the water.
He nearly made bogey but his bid from 13 feet leaked to the right.
“I just kept reminding myself I played great today,” was what his thoughts were going to 18. A good drive, a decent iron shot then two putts put him in the house and in command.
At 15-under, he goes into the third round five better than Charl Schwartzel, Danny Lee and Patrick Cantlay. Their 10-under totals would normally be a great feat under most circumstances at this championship. Si Woo Kim won last year shooting 10-under for 72 holes.
Now the 32-year-old Simpson has to prove he can close the deal.
He got the world’s attention when he won the U.S. Open back in 2012. His last win came at the 2013 Shriners. When they banned the anchored putter, he was in trouble.
Simpson played most of his life with the butt end of the putter grip anchored to his mid-section.
He finally settled for the handle against his left forearm, like Matt Kuchar, but then uses the paintbrush grip with his right hand.
It worked like all get-out on Friday.
Now he’s got to find a way to keep things going.
“My mindset today (Friday) was one shot at a time.”
He plans on that strategy for the next 36.
This should be good.