Webb Simpson uses new putter to take share of Sony Open lead

Webb Simpson turns to a conventional putter to help take share of first-round lead at Sony Open

Webb Simpson made his debut with a conventional putter Thursday at the Sony Open in Honolulu and might have wished he had used one sooner.

One year away from the new rule that outlaws anchored strokes, Simpson ditched his belly putter for a regular one for his 2015 debut and ran off eight birdies over his last 10 holes for an eight-under 62 that gave him a share of the lead with Paul Casey.

On a day that made the 144 players feel they were in paradise with sunshine and barely a breeze, Simpson and Casey led the low scoring at Waialae. What set them apart is how they got there — Simpson with his conventional putter, Casey with his return to Honolulu for the first time in a decade.

Camilo Villegas would have joined them at 62 except for failing to make birdie on the par-5 18th hole. He shot 29 on the front at Waialae before cooling slightly for a 63. Robert Streb also had a 63, the low score from the afternoon. Rory Sabbatini had a 64, while Jason Day, Matt Kuchar were in the group at 65. Defending champion Jimmy Walker played in the afternoon and was in the large group at 66.

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Three-time winner Martin Kaymer had 10 birdies in an eight-under 64 to take the first-round lead in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in United Arab Emirates.

The German star, the Abu Dhabi winner in 2008, 2010 and 2011, had a one-stroke lead over Belgium's Thomas Pieters. Kaymer won the U.S. Open last year at Pinehurst.

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy was tied for eighth at 67 in group that included Americans Rickie Fowler and Peter Uihlein. Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez had a hole-in-one on the 15th hole en route to a 72.

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