Webb Simpson opened his U.S. Open title defense with a solid 71.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ARDMORE, Pa. -- Webb Simpson proved to be a quick study when he won last year's U.S. Open in just his second start.
The most important lesson he learned at the Olympic Club was the value of patience. And he needed it during a first-round 71 that started late Thursday afternoon and bled over into Friday morning.
Simpson was 2 under when play was suspended by darkness after birdies on his third and fourth holes. But he made three bogeys on the back nine to finish 1 over, which left him four behind Phil Mickelson.
Still, Simpson wasn't too disappointed. He's already in better position than he was a year ago at this juncture when he trailed Michael Thompson by six strokes.
"I think you'll hear guys talk about this all week, but this course never lets up," Simpson said. "Even 13, it had the most birdies yesterday, you still got to think, because you could still mess it up.
"For me it's more the case of just being patient. It's a long week and hopefully I'll keep playing solid."
Simpson admitted he was more nervous on the first tee Thursday than he was 365 days ago.
"Just because expectation and all that," Simpson said. "But luckily the first hole is not too challenging and I played a really good solid round. Dropped a couple this morning, but overall happy with my start.
"And that's all you kind of want to do on a Thursday at the U.S. Open."