Simson Takes Lead Midway Through
USGA Senior Amateur's Second Round
Andover, Kan. – Paul Simson, 56, of Raleigh, N.C., shot his second consecutive 69 Sunday to lead the charge for medalist honors halfway through the second round of stroke play at the 2007 USGA Senior Amateur Championship, being played at the 6,502-yard, par-71 Flint Hills National Golf Club.
Simson, the runner-up at last month’s British Mid-Amateur, had four birdies and two bogeys in his round en route to a two-day total of 4-under 138.
“I didn’t birdie any par 5s today, which is a key around here, otherwise it would have been a really good round,” said Simson. “But you’re just trying to qualify. I hit the ball solid and I hit the ball straight. The key to the past two days was to make that 64, and learn a lot more about the golf course.”
A strong showing in stroke-play qualifying is nothing new for Simson, a co-medalist in both the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur and last year’s USGA Senior Amateur. He said the key to success after stroke play is simple.
“With match-play events, you’ve got to play well, and if you have somebody playing well against you, you’ve got to play a little bit better,” said Simson. “That’s just the nature of the beast.”
Bill McDonald, 63, of Troy, Mich., the 1964 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, led a quartet of players who finished two shots behind Simson. Joining McDonald at 1-under 141 were Lee Jeberjahn, 61, of San Luis Obispo, Calif.; David Stanfield, 58, of Lanett, Ala.; and Michael Puls, 57, of Irving, Texas.
McDonald, a retired elementary-school teacher who is playing in his first USGA championship in more than 20 years, was off to a strong start, 1 under through nine holes, before running into some trouble on the first hole, the 10th of his round.
“I was playing beautifully, but I hit a ball in the rough and hacked it out of the high grass and that thing just swelled up,” said McDonald, pointing to his right hand. “After that I struggled all the way coming in.”
McDonald still managed to scrape together a 2-over 73 and will easily advance to match play. Others who should also safely move on include 2004 USGA Senior Amateur winner Mark Bemowski, 61, of Mukwonago, Wis. (3-over 145) and 2002 USGA Senior Amateur champion Greg Reynolds, 60, of Grand Blanc, Mich., who came back from a first-round 77 with a 2-under 69 and stands at 4-over 146.
First-round leader Bill Zylstra, 55, of Westland, Mich., had an afternoon tee time Sunday. In Saturday’s first round, Zylstra shot a 6-under 65, which set a record for the lowest 18-hole score in Senior Amateur history. Zylstra, a veteran of seven previous USGA championships, is trying to make his first cut at a national championship.
Also playing Sunday afternoon is defending champion Mike Bell, 60, of Indianapolis, Ind., who will have to play well to come back from his first-round 7-over 78.
After the conclusion of the second round of stroke play Sunday afternoon the USGA Senior Amateur field will be reduced to 64 players for match play. The first round of match play is scheduled for Monday, the second and third rounds will be played Tuesday, the quarterfinal and semifinal matches are on Wednesday, and the 18-hole championship final will be played Thursday.
The USGA Senior Amateur is one of 13 championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association each year, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.
Story written by Beth Murrison of USGA Media Relations. For questions or comments, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.