October 17, 2014 / 10:04 PM / in 3 years

Defending champion Webb Simpson two behind in Las Vegas

(Reuters) - Defending champion Webb Simpson reeled off three successive birdies from his 10th hole to vault within two strokes of the clubhouse lead during the second round at the $6.2 million Shiners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas on Friday.

Sep 11, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Webb Simpson tees off on the third hole during the first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Simpson shrugged off the disappointment of last month’s Ryder Cup, where he was part of a losing American team, carding a six-under-par 65 at the TPC Summerlin.

PGA Tour rookie Andrew Putman also shot a 65 to lead on 10-under, one stroke ahead of fellow Americans Andrew Svoboda (67) and Tony Finau (65) with half the field back in the clubhouse.

“It was one of those days you really enjoy because it seems pretty easy,” 2012 U.S. Open champion Simpson told PGATour.com after hitting 17 greens in regulation to post an eight-under 134 halfway total.

“Nothing really jumped out (as being extra special). Just ball on the fairway, ball on the green and made a few putts.”

Simpson endured a wretched Ryder Cup, playing only two matches (for a halve and a loss) after being one of captain Tom Watson’s three wild-card picks.

This week’s Las Vegas tournament is the second on the 2014-15 PGA Tour schedule.

Reporting By Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Gene Cherry

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