Paul Simson, one of the most decorated amateur golfers in history, stands with his record seventh Putter Boy trophy after winning the 64th Senior Men’s North & South Amateur. (Photo by Sarah Campbell)
With fifth Senior North & South title, Simson shares most championships in Pinehurst history
VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Over twenty years ago, before he won his first North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst, Paul Simson couldn’t bring himself to even look at the wall of names of past champions in the resort’s famed clubhouse.
Oh, he knew the names. Knew them well. But even for the man who seems to have won every amateur title imaginable, it was the thought of having his name emblazoned in bronze at Pinehurst that sent the chill through him.
“I wouldn’t even go by the wall,” Simson said. “I just wanted my name to go up there so much, I couldn’t even bring myself to look at it.”
Just 20 years after winning the 1995 North & South Amateur, Simson played his way deeper into Pinehurst lore on Thursday after firing a final-round 69 to win the 64th Senior Men’s North & South Amateur Championship. It is Simson’s fifth Senior Amateur title, and with his two North & South championships, now puts his name on the North & South wall a total of seven times, the most in Pinehurst history. It is an honor he now shares with 7-time North & South Amateur Champion George Dunlap, 7-time Women’s North & South Amateur Champion Estelle Lawson Page and Carolyn Cudone, who won six Senior Women’s North & Souths and one Women’s North & South Amateur.
“I wouldn’t even go by the wall. I just wanted my name to go up there so much, I couldn’t even bring myself to look at it.” -Paul Simson
“It’s incredible to think about,” Simson said. “People 100 years from now may go by that wall, see my name and think, ‘What funny clubs did they use back then?’
“It’s something of a legacy, I guess. I know a lot of people who come here to visit and they stop by that wall. They tell me they’ve seen my name. It’s always a thrill to win at Pinehurst.”
Simson, a Raleigh native, came into the final round a shot behind Don Reycroft, of Norfolk, Massachusetts. But Simson and Reycroft were even after the 12th hole on Pinehurst No. 5, and when Reycroft opened the door with a bogey at 16, Simson capped his bogey-free round with a birdie at the 18th for a clear 4-shot victory at 10-under 204.
Birmingham, Alabama’s Steve Hudson was third after a final-round 67 for a three-day total of 5-under 209.
Simson, 64, is a legend in amateur golf, having won more than 200 titles. In 2010, he won the British Amateur, the Canadian Amateur and the U.S. Senior Amateur in a span of 55 days. In 2008, Simson played in the U.S. Senior Open, the U.S. Amateur at Pinehurst and the U.S. Senior Amateur.
Judith Kyrinis stands with the Putter Boy trophy after winning the 58th Senior Women’s North & South Amateur. (photo by Sarah Campbell)
Judith Kyrinis, playing in her first Senior Women’s North & South, began the final round three shots back of Pat Brogden, but rallied with a 2-over-par 72 on Pinehurst No. 1 while Brogden shot 77 to capture the 58th playing of the championship by two shots.
While Brogden faltered, Kyrinis, who was the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur runner-up in 2014, had a string of nine straight pars in the middle of her round to keep the pressure on, allowing her to prevail with a 7-over 221.
“This is unbelievable,” said Kyrinis, who hails from Ontario, Canada. “It’s amazing to think my name will be next to all of those incredible golfers. It’s just really, really special.”
Pinehurst’s Spike Smith won the Super Senior division of the Senior Men’s North & South by two shots over Frank Costanzo, of Savannah, Georgia. Pinehurst’s Tony Smarrelli was third.
Ginny Burkey, of Eugene, Oregon, won the Women’s Super Senior division in a playoff against Beatriz Arenas, of Guatemala. Greenville’s Angela Stewart was third.