Simson, Skinner to battle for U.S. Senior Am

8:01 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
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West Caldwell, NJ (Sports Network) - Paul Simson and Curtis Skinner claimed both of their matches on Wednesday to advance to the final of the USGA Senior Amateur Championship.

Simson led Stephen Sharpe 5-up after 10 holes in their quarterfinal match. After a 1-hour, 56-minute weather delay, Sharpe decided not to continue and conceded the match to Simson.

In Wednesday afternoon's semifinal, Simson downed Jim Knoll, 3 & 2, at Mountain Ridge Country Club.

Skinner ousted Steve Golliher, 2 & 1, in the quarters, then beat Douglas Hanzel by the same margin in the semifinals.

Simson grabbed a 1-up lead on Knoll on the second and again on the sixth after Knoll squared the match on No. 4. Knoll, who beat 2011 champion Louis Lee in the quarterfinals, squared the match for the final time with a birdie on the seventh.

Simson, the 2010 champion, birdied the eighth and eagled the ninth to make the turn with a 2-up lead. He moved 3-up with a birdie on No. 11. Knoll birdied the 12th and 13th to get back within 1-down, but Simson won the next two holes and the match was over after they both parred the par-3 16th.

"I had it going today. I knew I was going to have a tough match with Jim and I just can't get over some of the things I did out there," Simson said. "I think I hit every fairway and every green, which is pretty unusual."

Skinner and Hanzel traded wins at one and two, then again at five and six. Skinner took the seventh and eighth to go 2-up. He extended his lead to 3-up with a par on the 11th.

Hanzel, the low amateur who completed 72 holes at the 2012 U.S. Senior Open, won three straight holes from the 13th to square the match. Skinner birdied the 16th to regain the lead.

When Hanzel bogeyed the par-5 17th, the match was Skinner's.

"My intent was to make the cut and win one match," Skinner admitted. "I've been in a couple of absolute dogfights and I am happy to come out ahead."

The duo will tee off in the 18-hole final at 8 a.m. ET on Thursday.

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