The Society of Seniors launched the Super Senior National Championship last week, giving elite players ages 65 and older the opportunity to compete against each other in a way they never have before. The event, played at Forest Creek Club’s North Course in Pinehurst, North Carolina, was a Who’s Who of senior golf and featured six of the 10 highest-ranked super senior players on the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
In a battle of former U.S. Senior Amateur champions, Chip Lutz raced out to a big lead on Paul Simson and then held on down the stretch to edge Simson by one stroke. Tournament organizers could not have asked for two more accomplished players to vie for the title, and they created riveting drama on the last few holes. It ended with Simson leaving a final birdie putt inches short of the hole on the 18th green.
“I’m fortunate to just eek it out,” said Lutz (above). “We were both stumbling around out there today, but fortunately I made it in.”
Lutz, who shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 in the opening round, came into the third and final round with a six-stroke lead ahead of Simson and Don Donatoni. That lead started to evaporate when Lutz missed a short putt on No. 2 to make double bogey. By his own admission, Lutz started to feel “a little wiggly” after that.
He made bogeys at Nos. 10 and 11 and then played the rest of the back nine in even-par, coming in with a 4-over 76. Simson made birdie at the par-4 17th to narrow the deficit to one, but that’s as close as he would get.
“It was tough because I was leaking oil all day,” Lutz said. “Every hole, I had a yardage that was in between clubs. It was incredible. I was just off kilter a little bit, but for my first foray into super senior golf, it was good to at least post one victory.”
Simson, 69, is no stranger to super senior golf, but Lutz recently turned 65 and said the competition at that level is increasing.
“It’s getting better because now it’s all the guys I competed against when I was in the senior division,” Lutz said. “We’re all moving up, so it was all the same suspects.”
Staff and Wire Reports