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Simpson Having Great Time in Greensboro

April 27, 2001|From Associated Press

A lot has changed since Scott Simpson won 14 years ago at Greensboro, N.C.

His black hair has turned gray, he has shaved his mustache, he has put on a few pounds and the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic now has a $3.5-million purse.

Simpson, 45, is also attempting an unlikely comeback on the PGA Tour with seven screws and a plate in his right ankle after a December 1999 skiing accident in Utah.

Simpson shot a six-under-par 66 Thursday in one of his best rounds since picking up his clubs again and grabbed a one-stroke lead over seven golfers after the first round.

Aaron Baddeley, a 20-year-old rising star from Australia, Jerry Kelly, Dudley Hart, Robert Damron, Shaun Micheel, Spike McRoy and sectional qualifier Jeffrey Lankford were in the group at 67.

Simpson has missed five of nine cuts after being sidelined all of 2000 with his injury. He's playing this season on a major medical exemption.

Simpson made the turn at two under on a sunny afternoon in the mid-60s, then birdied Nos. 10-12 and added another one four holes later. Two of his birdie putts were from 15 feet and three were from 12 feet.

"The fun is trying to play under pressure and getting into contention," said Simpson, who last won in 1998. "It's fun to see if you can do it again."


With American players winless in the first 10 tournaments this year, Rosie Jones and Tina Barrett shot four-under 66s to share the lead with Sweden's Carin Koch in the Kathy Ireland Championship at Austin, Texas.

"I'm kind of sick of the talk, being a proud American," said Barrett, who had five birdies in her opening round.

England's Johanna Head and unheralded American Lisa DePaulo, who qualified for the tournament just last month, joined three others at 67.

Canada's Lorie Kane, Scotland's Mhairi McKay and American Leta Lindley also were in the group one shot off the lead.

Jones was four under after seven holes and finished with 11 consecutive pars.

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