With the temperature at the Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida event reaching 32C and with winds blowing at 20km/h, scores are expected to worsen in the afternoon at the brutally hard Sawgrass course.
A glance at the record books would confirm that the TPC course at Sawgrass has never been one of Rory McIlroy's favourite venues.
At times, it looked easy for him. "Everything is going in".
"And then on top of that, when you guys all saw how I was chipping so poorly, my nerve and my back was not doing very good, and I was flinching a lot, and he offered numerous times to help me out with technique and just talk about it and philosophy".
"It was just a fun day and it's rare, as a golfer, when everything comes together".
He enjoyed it plenty on Friday, despite having seen his sand wedge shot on the famous (or infamous) par-3 17th hole drift a little right, bounce high in the air and land in the water. Simpson took that to another level.
"I was in-between clubs", he said.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 10: Danny Lee of New Zealand plays a shot on the ninth hole during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 10, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
In-form Swede Alex Noren leads the European challenge as he added a 69 to his opening 66 to reach nine under alongside Chesson Hadley and Charles Howell III, with 2016 Players champion Jason Day a further stroke behind.
The native of Edgerton, Wis., who is 51 years old, is in contention after two days of the PGA Championship.
"I think when you win, you get a little bit more motivated to do more practice and hungry to win a lot more", he said.
Day carded a bogey-free 67 to climb to eight under to be the leading Australian, seven shots off the pace.
"I don't think any lead is safe; especially not through 36 holes", Simpson said.
But any disappointment Simpson might feel following his brush with history should be short-lived as he takes a commanding five-shot lead into the weekend at TPC Sawgrass. His previous best scores were 66s in 2000 and 2001 - also during the third round. With AP Photos.Tiger Woods got some help from two of the best players in the world to make the cut at The Players Championship. He was inside the cut line until hitting into the water on the 17th and making double bogey.
"We all hope he wins another tournament and plenty more majors".
"I was actually contemplating putting it, but even if I putted it I might not have got within six or seven feet, I just wanted to try to leave myself a putt, but that checked into the hill quite nicely". His chip came up short, and he missed an 18-footer from the fringe for par.