U.S. SENIOR AMATEUR
Jersey Boy: Simson Seeks Another Senior Am Title in Native State
September 29, 2015 | Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
By Ron Driscoll, USGA
Paul Simson proved emphatically in 2012 that you can go home again.
Simson, 64, was born and raised in northern New Jersey, and he came back to the region to claim his second U.S. Senior Amateur Championship three years ago at Mountain Ridge Country Club, in West Caldwell. Now he is on the trail of a third championship, in an area of the Garden State that also holds fond memories.
“We used to vacation in Stone Harbor,” Simson said of the shore community in Cape May County, some 45 minutes from Hidden Creek Golf Club, where this year’s Senior Amateur is being contested. “On Saturday when I played early I took my son Phillip down to the old haunts there, showed him where we used to catch fish.”
The house where his family summered is gone, but Simson has a trove of recollections from his time there.
“New Jersey has a lot of great memories for me,” said Simson, who was born in Summit and lived in nearby Chatham until he departed for college at the University of New Mexico in 1969.
Those memories include a dominating week at Mountain Ridge in 2012, where he added to the Senior Amateur title he won in 2010 at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla. Simson defeated Curtis Skinner, 4 and 3, in the championship match to cap another week that included visits with Phillip to his old neighborhood and Fairmount Country Club in Chatham, where he won a pair of club championships, met and later proposed to his wife, Chris.
He is back, with Phillip, 33, who caddied for Simson in both of his Senior Amateur victories, once again on the bag. Simson qualified with scores of 74-75 and dispatched 2013 champion Doug Hanzel, of Savannah, Ga., 5 and 4, in the Round of 64. Simson is taking on Tom Brandes, of Bellevue, Wash., the No. 10 seed, in Tuesday’s Round of 32.
“I don’t like playing my buddies, because we all know how difficult it is to win,” said Simson of his Monday match against Hanzel. “I played pretty well and finally made a few putts. In something like this, I look for improvement every day, and as long as I’m improving, I think I’m pretty tough to beat.”
Thus far, he has particularly formidable in the Garden State.
Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.