Hard work paying off for Simpson

26 February 2021 21:09:13 GMTPlus10

Matthew Fitzpatrick and Webb Simpson lead the way at six-under-par after round one of the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession.

Simpson fired seven birdies and a bogey to open up with a 66 in Florida while English ace Fitzpatrick went bogey-free to tie the American at the top of the leaderboard.

But, in a high-class WGC field featuring 47 of the world's top 50, a number of big-name rivals are in close proximity with Major winners Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia both one back.

Kevin Kisner, who won the 2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, also sits one adrift following a five-under 67, as does former FedEx Cup champ Billy Horschel.

Jon Rahm, Tony Finau and Patrick Reed are among a large group at four-under but some of the pre-event market leaders did struggle on Thursday - ante-post favourite Dustin Johnson opened up with a five-over 77 as did US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau.

Speaking after his round, Simpson was delighted with his fast start at The Concession, a Jack-Nicklaus design which is staging its first top-tier professional tournament this week.

"Very pleased with the start," Simpson said. "I worked on a couple things last week with putting alignment and with my driver and I saw good things from that today.

"You always want to see it first round back, but it doesn't always happen that way, so I was happy to see tough tee shots with trouble, really stepping up and making good swings.

"And I made a lot of putts today," he added, "so that was a good feeling."

Rahm is 4001.00 to win the WGC-Workday Championship at the Concession with Koepka 751.00 and Simpson 1001.00. Fitzpatrick is available at 4001.00 with Finau at 4001.00 and Rory McIlroy at 4001.00.

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