Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C., captured the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur Championship with a 2-and-1 victory over stroke-play medalist Patrick Tallent of Vienna, Va., in the final match on Thursday at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club.
By winning this event, Simson, 59, now holds three separate senior national championships. Earlier this year, he won the British Seniors Open Amateur Championship and the Canadian Men's Senior Championship. He’s the first golfer to win all three of those senior titles in the same year.
A veteran of nearly 50 USGA championships but playing in his first final, Simson finally added a USGA trophy to his vast collection.
"There's nothing like a USGA championship," said Simson. "The British Seniors are very special to me. Whenever you’re a champion of a country, it’s something special. …To win the USGA Senior, as far as senior golf, nothing really compares. It is the granddaddy.
"It's a crowning jewel for me. It's a very special thing. And to win all three in one year, I just can't believe it's happened."
Simson opened the championship final strong, converting a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the par-4 first hole to quickly grab a 1-up lead on the 6,691-yard Tom Fazio layout. The 57-year-old Tallent immediately struck back with a long birdie of his own on the ensuing hole to square the match.
However, Simson took charge with a booming tee shot on the par-4 fifth that soared over the water and came to rest just 30 feet short of the green. His chip hit the flagstick and stopped inches from the hole for a conceded birdie.
"I knew I had an advantage there and I wanted to win that hole," said Simson, who used his superior length off the tee to his advantage.
Simson made the turn with a commanding 4-up lead, thanks to a 4-under-par performance (with concessions) on the first nine.
"When you're two, three and four up through 10, 11, 12 holes, it makes it pretty easy to play that back nine," said Simson.
Tallent, vying to be the first medalist to win this title since John Richardson in 1987, was not without his opportunities on the second nine. After Simson’s birdie attempt on the par-3 13th slipped 5 feet past the hole, Tallent promptly converted his 6 footer for birdie and pulled to a 3-down deficit. He also capitalized on Simson’s bogey on the par-4 16th to gain one more hole.
"I should have played [holes 13-15] mad before," said Tallent, who struggled with those three holes this week. "I was mad today and I played them better."
In the end, however, Simson's early lead proved too large to overcome.
"Once I got a pretty good lead like that," said Simson, "as long as you don’t make too many bogeys, you’re usually going to prevail.
"I was still trying to make birdies, but they just weren’t going in on the back nine."
Added Tallent, who was one under par for 17 holes: "I missed four putts and that’s what it comes down to in match play. Paul didn’t miss one putt today."
Simson and Tallent receive exemptions from qualifying into the 2011 U.S. Senior Open at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, the 2011 U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis., and the 2011 USGA Senior Amateur at Kinloch Golf Club in Manakin-Sabot, Va. Simson also receives an exemption into the 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Shadow Hawk Golf Club in Richmond, Texas.
Christina Lance is the USGA’s coordinator of championship communications. Contact her with questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orlando, Fla. – Results from Thursday’s 18-hole championship match at the 2010 USGA Senior Amateur conducted at the 6,691-yard, par-72 Lake Nona Golf & Country Club.
Paul Simson, Raleigh, N.C. (141) def. Pat Tallent, Vienna, Va. (140), 2 and 1