AUGUSTA, Ga. – Sometimes it just takes a change in attitude to change results.
Webb Simpson spoke Thursday afternoon about giving Augusta National the respect it deserves. This was after Simpson posted a 5-under 67, the result of such an appreciative and respectful approach.
In eight previous Masters starts, Simpson has two top-20 finishes, both coming in his recent two appearances. His T-5 last year is his best finish in any major since he won the 2012 U.S. Open.
So why the 180 at Augusta?
“We just started playing a little more conservative,” Simpson said after his round. “I feel like I’m a pretty conservative golfer as it is, but I didn’t feel like I was giving some of these greens and approach shots enough credit for how severe the short side can be. So we just shifted a little bit of our focus to kind of being ultra-safe and know that there’s four par 5s, I’m going to have birdie opportunities. And when I did that, I started shooting better scores, making more birdies.”
He made three of them in Round 1, including a chip-in on the par-4 first, his 10th hole of the day, and an eagle at the par-5 second.
Simpson played the four par 5s in 4 under par. At 5 under, overall, he’s two back of early leader Paul Casey.