by Christina Lance
MANAKIN-SABOT, Va. – Defending champion Paul Simson, 60, of Raleigh, N.C., notched two more victories in Tuesday’s second and third rounds of match play at the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, being conducted at 6,829-yard, par-72 Kinloch Golf Club in Manakin-Sabot, Va.
Also advancing were brothers Stanford Lee, 59, and Louis Lee, 55, both of Heber Springs, Ark. They will meet in Wednesday morning’s quarterfinal round, the first time in the history of the USGA Senior Amateur that two brothers will play each other.
Louis Lee, playing in his first competitive golf event since 1985, lost the opening hole of his third-round match with Steve Poulson, 55, of Draper, Utah. Consecutive birdies on the fourth and fifth holes swung the match to Lee’s favor and he rolled from there, taking a 5-and-4 victory.
“I’m in uncharted waters,” said Lee, who defeated 2009 Senior Amateur runner-up Patrick Tallent in the morning’s second round. “But it’s fun, and I’ve proven some things to myself. I’m a little tougher than I thought I was.”
Lee had to be convinced by his older brother, Stanford, to even enter the championship qualifier. Wednesday morning, older brother will meet younger brother with a berth in the Senior Amateur semifinals on the line.
Stanford Lee, the 2007 Senior Amateur champion, survived a furious charge from Tony Green, 59, of Kingsport, Tenn., to win in 19 holes. Lee carried a 2-up lead to the par-4 15th, but Green’s eagle on 15, along with a clutch holeout for another eagle on the par-4 18th, sent the match to extra holes.
“I quit breathing about the middle of the fairway on 18 when he holed it,” said Lee, who defeated 2002 Mid-Amateur champion George Zahringer earlier in the day.
Green’s second shot on the 19th hole came up 30 feet short of the hole. With the quarterfinals on the line, Lee hit his 8-iron approach to six inches to clinch the meeting with his brother.
“We play a lot together,” said Stanford Lee of his brother, “and it’s 50/50. So whoever has the hand tomorrow will win and the other one will stay around caddie for him.”
Simson never trailed during his 3-and-1 victory over Emile Vaughan, 55, of Pike Road, Ala., but Vaughan never allowed him to build more than a two-hole advantage.
After making bogey out of the water on the par-3 14th to send the match back to all square, Simson’s 12-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole sparked a comeback. He quickly won the ensuing two holes to take the victory.
“The whole back nine, I played pretty well,” said Simson, a five-time winner of the North Carolina Senior Amateur. “I made some pretty clutch putts, so that was good.”
Simson, who took stroke-play medalist honors, has yet to have a match go the full 18 holes. His match with Vaughan marked the first time Simson had gone past the 16th hole since stroke-play qualifying.
“It was nice to see how I would respond with a little more heat on me than I’ve had,” said Simson. “I’m very pleased that my putting and short game and the sum of my game started to come together.”
To advance to the third round, Simson handily dispatched Sam Till Jr., 58, of Fort Wayne, Ind., by a 5-and-4 margin in the morning’s second-round action.
Simson will face Philip Pleat in the quarterfinals. Pleat, 55, of Nashua, N.H., advanced with a 5-and-4 victory over Jack Vardaman in the second round and a 2-and-1 defeat of Andrew Congdon in the third round.
Also advancing was 56-year-old Chip Lutz, of Reading, Pa., who is attempting to join Simson as the only two men to win the USGA Senior Amateur, Canadian Men’s Senior and British Seniors Open Amateur Championships in the same season.
Lutz followed his extra-holes victory in the first round with another marathon match in the second. He needed the full 18 holes in his 2-up victory over Kent Frandsen, 60, of Lebanon, Ind.
“I managed to get a whole round in again, so at least I’m getting my money’s worth,” said Lutz, who needed 20 holes to win his first-round match with Ian Harris.
His third-round experience was a little easier, as Lutz defeated Hunter Nelson, 58, of Houston, Texas, 3 and 1.
Lutz, a semifinalist at the 2010 championship, will face fellow 2010 semifinalist Jeff Burda in the quarterfinals. Burda advanced with an easy 7-and-5 victory in the second round over Michael Booker, 56, of The Woodlands, Texas, and an equally smooth 6-and-4 win over Richard Marlowe, 60, of Youngstown, Ohio, in the third round.
Rounding out the quarterfinalists were William Thomas Doughtie, 58, of Amarillo, Texas, who eliminated Tim Miller and 2009 runner-up John Grace, and Ronald Kilby, who defeated 2009 champion Vinny Giles and David Anthony.