Simson ‘overwhelmed’ by U.S. Senior support

Paul Simson after winning the USGA Senior Amateur Championship.

Paul Simson after winning the USGA Senior Amateur Championship.

After his victory Thursday in the USGA Senior Amateur Championship, Paul Simson flew home to Raleigh, N.C., with his trophy and headed directly to dinner at North Ridge Country Club.

With the trophy positioned in the middle of the table, Simson celebrated with his wife, Chris, his son, Phillip, and an army of friends.

Simson is a popular guy, and the congratulatory messages were still coming a day after his 2-and-1 victory over Pat Tallent of Vienna Va.

By Friday morning, Simson had received more than 200 emails and 50 voice messages.

“He’s a pretty cool guy,” said Phillip, who caddied for his father in the Senior Amateur, “but I think even he was starting to get overwhelmed.”

So what did Simson do on Friday? Began competition in another golf tournament, of course – the North Carolina 4-Ball Championship, a three-day event, where he and partner Walker Taylor shot 69 in the first round.

It may sound as if the 59-year-old Simson doesn’t work for a living, but he is an insurance agent with Stan Taylor Insurance in Raleigh.

Simson’s victory completed a unique Triple Slam in senior amateur golf. In 2010, he won the British, Canadian and American senior amateur championships. This had never been done before in the same year.

Furthermore, Simson was dominant in the biggest events. He won the British by five strokes and the Canadian by 15. He had to win six matches to capture the USGA Senior Am, and not once was he taken to the 18th hole.

Simson mused on what he had accomplished and said quietly, “I played my best golf in the Canadian Senior. I probably could have won by 20, but when you’re that far ahead, you have to invent ways to amuse yourself.”

If there is a valuable lesson to be learned here, it might focus on golf equipment. Both Simson and Tallent carried a few favorite old clubs in their bags, refusing to switch without good reason to do so.

Simson’s driver, for example, was a Titleist 905T from 2005. Tallent’s 3-wood was a 13-degree Orlimar Trimetal from the 1990s.

“I know plenty of good players who belong to the driver-of-the-month club,” Simson mused, “but I like what I’ve got.”

Simson does not wear a glove and thus is very particular about his grips. His favorite, the Lamkin Torsion Control, was discontinued, but he has stockpiled 300 of them at home.

“I change my grips a lot,” he said, “so I’m always on the lookout for more.”

The champion switched shoes this summer – to FootJoy’s SYNR-G. “I think they’ve got something there,” he said. “I feel really stable when I swing.”

• • •

Paul Simson’s bag: Titleist 905T driver (9.5), TaylorMade V Steel 3-wood (13), Precept 2-EZ hybrid (18), Titleist AP2 irons (3-pitch), Cleveland 900 wedges (54, 60), Ping Zing putter, Titleist Pro V1 ball.

Pat Tallent’s bag: TaylorMade original Burner driver (9.5), Orlimar Trimetal 3-wood (13), Adams Prototype 4-wood (16), TaylorMade Rescue TP (19), Mizuno MP-60 irons (4, 5, 6), Mizuno MP-32 irons (7-pitch), Titleist Vokey Spin Milled C-C wedges (56, 60), Yes! Natalie long putter, Titleist Pro V1 ball.

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