Simson Wins 25th; Named to SGA Hall
Good things just keep happening for Paul Simson, the 61-year-old insurance executive from Raleigh who has been a dominant figure in amateur golf for years.
In the same week, he became the winningest amateur in the Carolinas and was selected to the Southern Golf Association Hall of Fame.
Simson won the North Carolina Senior Amateur Championship of the Carolinas Golf Association last week at Oak Valley Golf Club in Advance, giving him the most all-time CGA titles in the history of the organization with 25.
Simson defeated Jim Grainger of Charlotte in a two-hole playoff after they had deadlocked at 136 in regulation. The win surpassed the long-standing record of the late Dale Morey, who won 24 CGA titles. It was the sixth N.C. Senior Amateur championship for Simson.
“This one is special,” Simson told CGA officials. “I wanted to win this one because if I didn’t, the pressure (to win No. 25) would have started building.”
Grainer took the loss philosophically, saying, “What can I say? He’s the best senior amateur golfer in the world.”
Rick Luzar of Pinehurst shot 145 to tie for 17th.
Simson, with some 200 overall amateur golf titles, will be formally inducted into the SGA Hall in mid-July on the eve of the 106th Southern Amateur Champ-ionship at Chenal Country Club in Little Rock.
The next day, he will begin competing in the Southern Am against a field comprised mostly of collegiate stars less than half his age. With his trademark composure and silky short game, Simson is a sure bet to surprise some of those “flat bellies.”
The SGA does not induct a new Hall of Fame member each year, but rather acts only when a person deemed of genuine merit has earned the rare honor.
Simson will be just the 23rd inductee in the 40 years since the SGA Hall of Fame was established. The most recent, in 2006, was Hubert Green, who won the Southern Am twice before becoming a major champion on the PGA Tour.
Simson recognizes the high honor. “This will be the biggest thrill in my golf life,” he says.
In a brief fling on the PGA Tour in the early ’70s, Simson won money but didn’t like the travel. So he resumed his insurance career and regained his amateur status in 1978, launching a stunning amateur career.
He twice won the North and South Amateur at Pinehurst, etching his name alongside such winners as Jack Nicklaus and Davis Love and earning a “locker in perpetuity” at legendary Pinehurst No. 2.
Simson is a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame.
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