Simpson shares lead to be in line for straight wins,

DETROIT (Michigan) • Webb Simpson, who skipped last week's Travelers Championship after his daughter tested positive for Covid-19, had a "calm mind" as he made a late birdie to earn a share of the halfway lead at Detroit Golf Club on Friday.

The world No. 6, who is the top-ranked player in this week's field at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, shot a bogey-free, eight-under 64 for a 12-under total of 132 and shared a one-shot lead with fellow American Chris Kirk (65).

Kirk, 35, had walked away from golf last year, sidelining himself for seven months to address depression and alcohol abuse.

Simpson, seeking wins in consecutive starts after a triumph at the RBC Heritage last month, birdied seven of his first 13 holes and moved into a share of the lead when he holed out from a greenside bunker at the par-four 16th.

"I came in confident, I came in feeling good about my game," said the 34-year-old former US Open champion.

"Most guys I feel play well out here when they're not really thinking a whole lot, their mind is calm and they feel in control and they feel confident. That's kind of where I am right now."

Kirk, meanwhile, said a new-found perspective since his self-imposed hiatus - and a recent win on the developmental Korn Ferry Tour - have buoyed him.

"I'm very thankful to be out here playing again and I'm really enjoying competing," said the American, who won the last of his four PGA Tour titles at Colonial in 2015.

Among those who missed the cut are former Major champions Vijay Singh, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed, Jason Dufner and Charl Schwartzel.


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