Paul Simson’s business card might say insurance agent, but to competitive golfers throughout the Carolinas, his name brings more to mind than claims and deductibles.
Simson, North Carolina’s most-decorated amateur golfer, will be in Charlotte this week competing in the North Carolina Amateur Championship at the Carolina Golf Club. The hall of famer will be riding a wave of momentum into the Queen City after an eight-stroke victory in the John T. Lupton Memorial tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn., over Memorial Day weekend. It was his fifth Lupton tournament win in the last seven years.
“Well, I would say that I am brimming with confidence,” Simson said, laughing from his Raleigh office this week. “The (John T. Lupton) tournament is on a very difficult golf course called the Honors, which is one of my favorite places to play. It gives me a lot of confidence coming into this week on what could possibly be a good week for me.”
The 63-year-old Raleigh resident believes that familiarity with the Carolina Golf Club course will be advantageous. The Donald Ross-designed course plays at a short 6,964 yards, which he says will help.
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“They’ve got a lot of fairway bunkering that may keep some of the kids from getting the long (driver) out,” Simson said. “I may have a decent chance there.”
Simson’s quest to capture his 28th Carolinas Golf Association amateur title begins Thursday afternoon. In 2011, the last time the Carolina Golf Club hosted a major CGA event, he finished tied for 10th.
The former walk-on golfer at the University of New Mexico has become an icon in the Carolinas amateur golfing community. His hundreds of tournament titles include 27 CGA championships, two North-South Amateurs, four North-South Senior Amateurs, and three British Senior Amateurs. His impressive track record was recognized in 2010 when Simson was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
Even though Simson spends his weekdays as a 29-year veteran in the insurance industry, the game of golf is always close to his mind.
“I’ve got the (Carolina Golf Club) yardage book in my back pocket.”