PGA Tour: Webb Simpson leads RSM Classic

American golfer Webb Simpson set the pace on day one of the PGA Tour tournament in Georgia.

American golfer Webb Simpson was almost flawless as he earned a one-stroke lead in Georgia on Thursday.

American golfer Webb Simpson was almost flawless as he earned a one-stroke lead in Georgia on Thursday.   -  Getty Images

Webb Simpson carded a seven-under-par 65 to lead the RSM Classic after the opening round.

Simpson was almost flawless as the American golfer earned a one-stroke lead in Georgia on Thursday.

Playing on Sea Island's Plantation Course – the easier of the two courses used this week – Simpson overcame a slow start, which saw him bogey his second hole.

Simpson was one over par before playing his final 13 holes in eight under to take the first-round lead ahead of Cameron Tringale and Lee Kyoung-hoon – who each played on the Seaside Course – and Rhein Gibson.

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"He told me, no matter how I started out, to stay patient," Simpson said of caddie Paul Tesori's advice. "I think he knew scores would be good over there [on the Plantation Course]. He helped me weather the storm."

Simpson – a five-time PGA Tour champion without a win since May 2018 – carded six of his eight birdies on his back nine, closing out the round with three in a row.

"It's been awhile since I've won," 2012 U.S. Open winner Simpson said. "I've given myself chances here. Starting this week, all I wanted was a chance Sunday because I do feel comfortable here."

Scott Harrington, Tyler Duncan, Brian Harman, Alex Cejka, Rory Sabbatini, Scott Brown, Sebastian Munoz, Nick Taylor and Hank Lebioda are five under heading into the second round.

Meanwhile, defending champion Charles Howell III is five strokes off the pace.