Orlando, Fla. (Oct 6, 2010) – Patrick Tallent and Paul Simson played together the first two days of the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur Championship.
And on Thursday morning at 9, they will compete against each other on the last day of the championship at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club in the 18-hole final.
Tallent, 57, of Vienna, Va., defeated Chip Lutz, 55, of Reading, Pa., 2-up, while Simson, 59, of Raleigh, N.C., knocked off Jeff Burda, 57, of Modesto, Calif., 4 and 3, in Wednesday’s semifinals over the 6,691-yard, par-72 layout. Despite begin veterans of USGA championships, both will be competing in their first final. Tallent will attempt to become the first stroke-play medalist to win the championship since John Richardson in 1987. Only seven medalists have won the Senior Amateur in its previous 55 editions.
In the quarterfinals earlier on Wednesday, Tallent beat Frank Ford III of Charleston, S.C., 2 and 1, and Simson edged Tim Miller of Kokomo, Ind., 3 and 2.
“That’s what he wanted,” said Tallent when asked about meeting Simson in the final. “I think he thinks he can beat me, so we’re going to have a good battle. We played for two days [in stroke play] and fortunately I came out a shot ahead. Maybe tomorrow I can be ahead [again]. Either way, he’s a good guy and deserves to win, too.”
Tallent, the stroke-play medalist, got out to a fast start against Lutz, who bogeyed the par-5 second hole. Lutz, a 5-and-4 quarterfinal winner over Don Thames of Rancho Murieta, Calif., earlier on Wednesday, continued to struggle on the first nine and was 3 down after 12 holes.
But Lutz stuffed his tee shot to 18 inches on the par-3 13th for a winning birdie, sparking a three-hole rally for the 2010 North & South Senior champion. Bogeys by Tallent at 14 and 15 pushed the match to all square.
“I don’t like those holes,” said Tallent of Nos. 13 through 15. “They don’t suit me at all. I said to myself after 12 if I lose the next three holes, the worst I can be is even on the 16th.”
But Lutz three-putted from the fringe on 16 to give Tallent back the lead. A great up-and-down par at 17 by Lutz kept the match going to 18, where the Pennsylvanian miscalculated his yardage for the fairway approach. Lutz added 8 yards to the number instead of subtracting and sent his 8-iron over the green. He was unable to get up and down for par, and Tallent two-putted for the victory.
“That was just a mental error,” said Lutz. “I hit an 8-iron where I would have hit a wedge. That’s a two-club difference.”
Tallent, meanwhile, knocked his 7-iron to the middle of the green.
“I was just playing for par [on 18],” said Tallent. “I figured he’s got to make birdie and I’ve just got to make it on the green.”
Added Lutz: “I didn’t do well this afternoon. That was probably my poorest performance, unfortunately. I gave Pat too much of a lead early and made too many mistakes.”
Simson, meanwhile, has had a 2010 to remember, winning the British Seniors Open Championship and the Canadian Men’s Senior Amateur, the latter by an impressive 15 strokes. He did not let the opportunity for a third national title get away from him, taking the lead against Burda on the second hole and never letting his opponent regain momentum.
“This is as far as I’ve been in one of these championships,” said Simson, a two-time U.S. Mid-Amateur semifinalist. “We’ll just see what happens tomorrow. Pretty simple – try and hit the ball on the fairway and try and play the golf course.”
By reaching the final, both players are exempt into the 2011 U.S. Senior Open at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, and the 2011 U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis. The champion receives a 10-year exemption to the Senior Amateur.
The USGA Senior Amateur, open to golfers 55 and older, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Orlando, Fla. – Results from Wednesday’s quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of match play at the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur being contested at the 6,691-yard, par-72 Lake Nona Golf & Country Club.
Pat Tallent, Vienna, Va. (140) def. Frank Ford III, Charleston, S.C. (148), 2 and 1
Chip Lutz, Reading, Pa. (143) def. Don Thames, Rancho Murieta, Calif. (143), 5 and 4
Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C. (141) def. Tim Miller, Kokomo, Ind. (148), 3 and 2
Jeff Burda, Modesto, Calif. (148) def. Greg Reynolds, Grand Blanc, Mich. (151), 3 and 2
Tallent def. Lutz, 2 up
Simson def. Burda, 4 and 3
Orlando, Fla. – Starting time and pairing for Thursday’s championship match of the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur being contested at the 6,691-yard, par-72 Lake Nona Golf & Country Club. (Time is EDT)
9 a.m. – Pat Tallent, Vienna, Va. (140) vs. Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C. (141)