Machynys Peninsula, Wales (Aug. 9 2012) -- American star Paul Simson is in pole position to become only the second player in history to win the Seniors Amateur Championship four times after taking a narrow lead at Machynys Peninsula in West Wales.
Only the legendary Charlie Green who won six times between 1988 and1994 has achieved that feat.
“I must like the even numbers as I won this in 2006, 2008 and 2010,” said the 61-year-old plus three-handicapper from North Carolina after scoring a three-under par 69 in his second round.
That gave him a 36-hole aggregate of 142 two-under-par and a one-stroke advantage over four of his fellow countrymen as the Americans tightened the screw on this 44th Seniors Open Amateur Championship.
Defending champion Chip Lutz, Patrick Tallent, Steve Rogers and Rick Woulfe are all breathing down the neck of Simson.
Simson who plays out of the North Ridge Country Club at Raleigh went out with nine straight pars in 36 and then moved up a gear playing a six iron to ten feet on the short 11th and holing the putt, knocking in a six-footer for birdie at the 13th and picking up birdies at each of the last two holes.
His only hiccup was at the 12th where he dropped a stroke after failing to get up and down.
“I felt I played well today hitting the ball into the right places and really relish the opportunity of gunning for another title,” said the North Carolina Seniors Champion.
Lutz was much happier with his second round. “I was hitting the ball much better and the putts were dropping. It’s going to be a real battle on the last day but I am looking forward to it,” said Lutz who finished with a birdie for his 70.
Tipperary’s Arthur Pierse is the leading player from the four home countries after a 74 for a 144 total – and he revealed afterwards how he nearly did not play in the event due to an ongoing shoulder injury.
“I have hardly played any competitions for a long time and was not going to enter until I got a late call and was persuaded to,” said the former champion who was runner-up last year.
“All in all I am quite happy with my game considering everything,” said the 61-year-old who went in the water at the short 11th and dropped a stroke and bogeyed the next as well.
Former Walker Cup captain Garth McGimpsey is out of contention after a 77 to add to his earlier 73- he disappointingly finished with a bogey six and European champion Adrian Morrow is only one stroke better after a second round 76.
There will be no glory this time for 2003 winner Roy Smethurst, the Cheshire man playing in his 16th consecutive Championship as he missed the cut by two strokes – a year after winning the over 65 award. “It was a bad day at the office,” said Smethurst.
There was joy for two players with holes in one- Welshman Andrew Williams a Gwent county player who aced the 11th and Irishman George Mellerick who achieved the feat on the second – and both made the cut.
Also among those to do so was John Jermine the Golf Union of Wales Chairman and the 2010 Ryder Cup Chairman who with a 150 total is in with a chance of capturing the over-65’s title.
Altogether 62 players with totals of 154 and better qualified for Friday’s final 18 holes.