SOUTHERN PINES, North Carolina (Oct. 26, 2011) -- Two hundred-and-six members of the Society of Seniors turned up at Pine Needles and Mid-Pines for the annual 54-hole SOS championships on October 24th, 25th and 26th. Perfect Carolina-fall weather and scoring conditions greeted the SOS players each day, and the Pine Needles and Mid-Pines staffs went overboard to make their SOS guests feel right at home.
Paul Simson, who lives up the road from Pine Needles in Raleigh, NC., capped another outstanding senior amateur season by winning the Dale Morey Seniors Championship on the Pine Needles course by six strokes over runner-up Chip Lutz of Reading, Pa. Simson shot matching rounds of 69 each of the three tournament days for a score of 207.
Simson and Lutz have been the dominant senior amateur players in the world for the past two seasons Simson won the Hat Trick of the senior amateur world in 2010 by capturing the British, Canadian and USGA Senior Amateur Championships.
This year Lutz won the British and Canadian Seniors but then lost in the semifinals of the USGA Senior Amateur to Philip Pleat despite shooting a 66. At Pine Needles, Lutz finished at 213, three-shots in front of Vinny Giles of Richmond, Va.
The John Owens Super Seniors Championship at Mid-Pines produced the tightest competition all three days before Jerry Jackson of Kokomo, Ind., broke a six- man logjam to win by one stroke over Mike Nixon of Nashville,Tn. Jackson played solid rounds of 73-75-75 for a total of 223 and his first SOS victory.
While the Mid-Pines course played somewhat shorter than its Pine Needles neighbor, the relatively-small Donald Ross greens proved to be very tricky and most approach shots to those greens, many with false fronts, demanded at least an extra club because they played uphill. Sharing third-place in the Owens were John Baldwin of West Palm Beach, Fl., Larry Boswell of Jamestown, NC, and nifty Ned Steiner, the conqueror of Solden, from Vineland, NJ., and New York City.
In the Grand Masters, Dick McClear, who spends his summers playing the great Crystal Downs in Franklin, Mi., and his winters playing SOS-favorite Quail Ridge in Boynton Beach, Fl., posted identical rounds of 75 each day at Mid-Pines and romped to a five-shot victory over Jim Ono. McClear clearly is on a role in the 75-and-over league, with his triumph at Mid-Pines following his victory stroll at the Jack Hesler tournament this past July at Brookside in Columbus, Ohio.
The SOS Championships got off to a fine start following the practice round on Sunday, Nov, 23rd, when Ms. Peggy Kirk Bell, the First Lady of Southern Pines and one of the greatest players in golf history, visited the Welcome Reception and was serenaded to a loud chorus of Happy Birthday Dear Peggy a few days in advance of her 90th birthday. Ms. Bell was deeply touched, as she noted in her brief remarks to the SOS members.
Then, on Tuesday night, Nov. 25th, Jim Hyler, the president of the United States Golf Association, did a Q-and-A for the membership before the annual SOS Dinner Meeting. To say the least, Mr. Hyler was not very optimistic about the chances that the USGA might add a Super Senior Championship to its annual rota.
- Society of Seniors Story
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