Hendley edges Simson in playoff to win 66th Senior North & South Amateur

Todd Hendley wins the 66th Senior Men’s North & South Amateur Championship at Pinehurst.

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, North Carolina – Even Todd Hendley wanted to see history made again.

Perhaps even at the expense of making it himself.

Hendley, a multiple South Carolina Senior Amateur champion who qualified for the U.S. Senior Open this year, defeated the most decorated champion in Pinehurst history, Paul Simson, on the first hole of sudden death to win the 66th Senior Men’s North & South Amateur on Wednesday on Pinehurst No. 2.

“Paul is such a great player, and I kind of hated to see him not win because you really want to see him keep going here,” Hendley said.

“But since he already has the record, I guess I don’t feel so bad,” he quipped.

Hendley, of Greenville, South Carolina, earned it, though. Despite opening the third and final round with back-to-back bogeys, Hendley recovered quickly, making birdies on the next three holes. After a par on the par-3 6th, Hendley added two more birdies on 7 and 8.

That put Hendley, who started the day two shots back of 36-hole leaders Simson and Walter Todd, right into contention. He added another birdie at 12 to finish with a 68 and a 7-under total of 209.

“Seven under in Pinehurst,” Hendley said, looking at the scoreboard. “I can’t play any better than that.”

The score tied the steady Simson, who, with eight wins lifetime in the North & South Men’s Amateur and the Senior North & South, is the all-time winningest player in Pinehurst history. Simson, though, needed a deft up-and-down from long and left of the 18th green to save par and force the playoff.

Back on 18 for the playoff, Hendley drove it long down the left side of the fairway. Simson, though, pushed his drive into the native area on the right, his ball settling in a wire grass bush. He punched out from there, but his ball came to rest against another wire grass bush in the bunker left of the green.

Simson made a beautiful shot to 8 feet from that spot, but his putt slid past the right edge of the cup. A delicate two-putt from about 50 feet gave Hendley the championship.

“This is pretty cool,” said Hendley. “To think my name is going up there with all of the great players who have won this championship, that’s pretty awesome.”

The 60th Senior Women’s North & South Amateur Championship also featured a playoff.

Mary Ann Hayward

Mary Ann Hayward, of St. Thomas, Ontario, birdied the first hole of sudden death to defeat two-time defending North & South champion – and fellow Canadian – Judith Kyrinis.

Hayward, who started the final round three shots back of Kyrinis, took the lead with a birdie on the 16th hole of Pinehurst No. 5 after Kyrinis failed to get up and down for par.

Playing the 18th hole a second time that day, Hayward made a beautiful approach shot to about 6 feet and made the putt to win the championship.

“The hole just fits my eye, and I was so happy to play it again for the playoff,” Hayward said. “I was able to curl in a little right-to-left putt. Yeah, that was pretty yummy.”

Winning at Pinehurst is special to the Canadian Golf Hall of Famer.

“This has been on the bucket list for a long time,” she said. “It’s one thing to see the history on TV, like when you watch the Opens. But to be here and experience it, it’s amazing.”

Robert Hess, of Casselberry, Florida, won the Super Senior Men’s North & South Amateur Championship with a three-day total of even-par 216, winning by four shots over Evan Long, of Charlotte.

Mimi Hoffman, of Springfield, Virginia, won the Super Senior Women’s North & South Amateur Championship by two shots over Beatriz Arenas, of Guatemala.