Paul Simson is a winner – whether fishing for bass in Lake Lupton or teeing it up in the John T. Lupton Memorial Tournament at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Going for his fifth Lupton Memorial title in seven appearances, hall of famer Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C. (67-71-72) was an 8-point winner as he defeated Bill Leonard of Dallas, GA, 114 to 106 points.
The Lupton Memorial uses the Stableford scoring system, which awards points based on the score for a hole. A double bogey results in zero points, a bogey equals one, par is two, birdie gets three and eagle is worth four points.
Going into the final round with a 7-point lead over his closest rival, Bob Stephens of Indianapolis, Ind., Simson knew he was in a good position.
“It’s really hard to make up that much ground in one round using this format,” said Simson.
Simson, who held the U.S. Senior Am, British Senior Am and Canadian Senior Am titles consecutively, said, “My game is really good right now and I’m looking forward to contending in the 2014 senior majors.”
Most mere mortals would give just about anything to hold the Coleman, Lupton and Senior Hall of Fame trophies in the same year as Simson did in 2013. But, to Simson the real test is competing in and winning the majors.
“I guess I had a pretty good year in 2013,” Simpson said when asked about last year. “But after holding all three major titles in the same year, it’s not the same.”
Simson who loves playing The Honors Course said, “It’s a day in paradise. If I had just one more round left to play – it would be here on The Honors Course.”
Simson’s future schedule includes The North Carolina Amateur Championship in two weeks, followed by the Senior Hall of Fame, the U.S. Senior Open, the U.S. Senior Amateur, the British Seniors Open Amateur and the Canadian Senior Amateur with a few others thrown in for good measure.
A busy schedule, for sure, but as Simson put it, “I love tournament golf and I don’t know what else to do.”
Ted Smith of Wilkinson, Ind., No.1 in Golfweek’s Super Senior Rankings, added to his point total by winning the Super Senior division of the Lupton Memorial. Smith’s 105 Stableford points gave him a 5-point victory over his closest rival, twelfth-ranked Don Marsh of Alpharetta, Ga., who finished solo second with 100 points.
“I’m feeling really good about my game right now,” Smith said after his round. “After the bogey on my first hole, my game came around the rest of the way.”
Smith really got it going on the par-5 second hole. He hit his second shot into a fairway bunker just 35 yards short of the green and then holed out with a 54-degree wedge he recently put in his bag.
“I bought a new set of Callaway Apex irons in April,” said Smith, “and I really like the way they feel.”
When talking about his putting, Smith said it had changed in the last several years. “I used a long (Rife) putter for years, but I cut it down and have been practicing with it before the new (anchoring) rule takes effect.”
Smith had nothing but praise for The Honors Course. He said the greens were arguably the best he’d ever putted on. “All the guys were talking about how good they are,” Smith said. “I can’t imagine they’d be much better at Augusta.”
U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion Mike McCoy of West Des Moines, Iowa, scored a come-from-behind victory in the Mid-Am division of the Lupton Memorial.
The 51-year-old McCoy, who made it into this year’s Masters by virtue of his victory in the 2013 USGA Mid-Amateur Championship, competed in the Masters as the second-oldest rookie in the tournament’s 78-year history.
McCoy, who started the final round trailing both Robert Gerwin of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Kenny Cook of Noblesville, Ind., first noticed the leaderboard during a rain delay while on the 14th hole.
“I looked at the leaderboard and noticed that Gerwin was 4 over for the tournament,” McCoy said, “and thought I’ve got a chance here.”
After making birdies on his final two-holes, McCoy’s rounds of 71-75-72 for a three-round total of 218 gave him a two-shot victory over Gerwin and Cook, who finished tied for second after posting three-round totals of 220.