CHICAGO — Paul Simson would like to try a different strategy.
“Maybe I can fly under the radar a bit,” he said.
But considering how well he’s played this summer, and through the opening weekend of the 55th U.S. Senior Amateur, it’s unlikely Simson will be sneaking up on anyone.
On Sunday at Beverly Country Club, Simson fashioned a bogey-free 67 into a 36-hole total of 2-under-par 140. That earned him a share of medalist honors with Pat Tallent of Vienna, Va. Simson and Tallent finished one shot ahead of 2006 champion Mike Bell. They were the only three players to finish stroke-play qualifying under par.
“It was a good ball-striking day,” said Simson, who has won or shared Senior Amateur medalist honors in two of the last three years. “I missed only three greens today, it’s a fantastic golf course and the conditions are perfect. I’m not going to complain in the least.”
Taking medalist honors into Monday’s first round of match play wasn’t a priority for Simson. He was medalist in 2006 and was eliminated in the quarterfinals; he was co-medalist last year and made it to the second round.
“You just play your own game,” he said. “Match play is a little quirky in that you can have a bad round and win, and you can have a great round and lose. You just take it one shot at a time, one hole at a time.”
It’s been a good year for Simson. He won the North Carolina Senior Amateur, was low amateur at the Senior British Open, was second at the Senior British Amateur and won the North and South Senior for the third time. Because he’s been named to the North Carolina squad in this year’s State Team Championship, he’ll be unable to defend his title at next week’s Carolina Seniors.
Tallent parlayed two birdies and two bogeys into an even-par 71.
“I didn’t drive the ball very well today,” he said. “I got it up and down for par three or four times, and that’s hard to do on this golf course. You miss it on the short side and it’s very difficult. But the golf course is terrific and weather is great, so I have no excuses.”
The first round of match play is set for Monday, with Rounds 2 and 3 scheduled for Tuesday.
The most notable players failing to make match play included Joseph Keller of Osterville, Mass., a quarterfinalist from a year ago; Bill Shean Jr., of Hinsdale, Ill., a two-time champion (1998, 2000) playing on his home course; and Robert Vallis of Bermuda, this year’s Senior British Amateur winner.