Paul Simson with his 9th Putter Boy trophy (John Patota/Pinehurst Resort photo)
At the age of 69, Paul Simson
(Raleigh, N.C.) has technically been a super senior for several years. But why play with your age group when you can still beat the best of the 55+ senior set instead?
Simson added to his Hall of Fame resume (he was inducted into the National Senior Hall of Fame in 2012) with a record-extending 7th win at the North & South Senior at the Pinehurst Resort, closing with a bogey-free 4-under 68 to overtake Gene Elliott (W. Des Moines, Iowa) and win by two shots.
The ageless Simson has won this event in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2020. He has now won four times since turning 60. Even more impressive, he now has a record 9 Putter Boy trophies, collecting the first two by winning the North & South Amateur in 1995 and 1996.
“No, it never gets old,” Simson said to Alex Podlogar of Pinehurst. “To have my name up there nine times – seven Seniors and two regulars – nobody else has got that accomplishment.
“I try to keep as much room between them and me as I can.”
Simson had not won a national senior event since winning the North & South Senior in 2016, although he nearly got a third U.S. Senior title in 2017 to go along with his three British Senior titles.
Round 1 was played on the Pinehurst No. 5 course, and there was a logjam of six players (including Simson and Elliott) tied at the top at 2-under 70. In Round 2, Simson struggled out of the gate at Pinehurst No. 8, tripling the first hole and dropping five shots in the first six holes -- the last shots he would drop in the tournament -- en route to a 2-over 74.
Elliott, the 2018 AmateurGolf.com Senior Player of the Year, grabbed the solo lead with a 71, two shots ahead of three players, with Simson a part of a group of four players three shots back at even par.
On Wednesday at Pinehurst No. 2, Simson was the only player to go bogey-free and the only player to break 70 for any tournament round. Even better, he hit every green in regulation on one of the toughest courses in the world to do so, with No. 2's turtleback greens repelling any shot not well-placed. (Simson said it was the first time he had ever achieved the feat at No. 2.) He started well with birdies at the 1st and 3rd holes, added another at the 11th, and got a final birdie at the par-5 16th to close with a 68 and beat his age by a shot.
Elliott still had the lead at the turn after going out in even par, but couldn't make a birdie on the back nine, dropping two shots and finishing with a 74 for a 1-under 215 total, three behind Simson in third place.
Playing with Simson, Sherrill Britt (West End, N.C.) stayed within a couple of shots all day but ultimately could not catch his playing partner, closing with a 70 to finish solo second at 2 under par.
Robert Funk (Canyon Lake, Calif.) posted three rounds of even-par 72 to finish 4th, tied with Monty Guest (Solon, Ohio), who was a part of the first-round lead group and who close with a pair of 73s.
Among past champions, Pat Thompson (2013) finished tied 11th at 3 over, Eddie Hargett (2018) was tied 20th at 8 over, and Todd Hendley (2017) was tied 24th at 10 over.
In the Super Senior division, Stephen Fox (Barboursville, W.V.) defended his title with a resounding nine-shot win over Robert Parmar (Fairhope, Ala.) and Evan Long (Charlotte, N.C.). Fox opened with a 70 on Pinehurst No. 2, one shot behind Ed Donlin (Concord, N.C.), and then took control of the tournament with a 5-under 67 on Pinehurst No. 5.
On the final day at Pinehurst No. 8, Fox was using a lot of his cushion, making four bogeys (more than the previous two rounds combined) before finishing in style with three straight birdies and a 73. Fox's winning total was an impressive 6-under 210.
ABOUT THE North & South Senior
Part of the annual North & South series of
tournaments at Pinehurst that include Men's,
Women's, Juniors and Seniors. Entries are open
male and female golfers who meet the
requirements below. All applicants must
to the USGA Rules of Amateur Status and meet
the requirements of the USGA Gender Policy.
In the Men's Open Division, applicants must
reached 55 years of age by tournament date to
be eligible for competition. All applicants must
have a handicap index of 8.4 or less.
In the Men's Super-Senior Division, applicants
must have reached 65 years of age by
tournament date to be eligible for competition.
All applicants must have a handicap index 10.4
FORMAT: 54-holes of stroke play will determine
the Champion. Play will be divided into four
divisions (Men’s Open, Men’s Super-Senior,
Women’s Open, and Women’s Super-Senior)
contested with one round each on Pinehurst
1, No. 5, No. 8. A full field will consist of 90
Men and 90 Super-Senior Men.
View Complete Tournament Information