LETHBRIDGE, Alberta – Burlington’s Bill Simmons missed the cut after stroke play and failed to advance into the Canadian Senior Match Play Championship round at the par 72, 6,445 yard Picture Butte golf course.
Simmons had his best score in the third round of the tournament, conducted by the Royal Canadian Golf Association on Thursday, but his 75 combined with rounds of 79 and 78 gave him a 232 total. He was left in a three-way tie for 58th, with the top 32 moving into match play.
Floridian Steve Earsley topped the low medallist list with rounds 70-68-68—206 (-10). Norman Swenson of Linville, North Carolina was second at five-strokes behind at 211.
Earsley, 58, is currently ranked 41st on Golfweek magazine’s US senior amateur rankings.
“I like being the first seed, you certainly aim for it, however it’s one of those things that can go both ways,” said Earsley. “A lot of guys you face believe they have nothing to lose and play tougher. I’ve seen a lot of first seeds get eliminated in the first round… too many actually. I’ve done that [been eliminated] once or twice myself. We’ll try not to make that happen (Friday).”
Merv Dusyk of Red Deer (Alberta) who shot a 69 on the day to secure the third seed at 212, was the top Canadian. Other Canadians qualifying in the top-10 include Jim Scissons of Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) as well as Calgary natives Howard Broun and Albert Dowdell. In all 14 Canadians advanced to match play.
The final two qualifying spots needed to be decided by a sudden-elimination playoff. Seven players tied for 31st position at nine-over par, 225.
Three-time champion, Billy Graham of Pensacola (Florida) was the first to qualify by making birdie on the opening playoff hole and four others were eliminated after they bogeyed. Ray Henry of Victoria (British Columbia) was the last to qualify after ousting last year’s runner up Jack Ramsey of Germantown, Tennessee, on the second playoff hole.
Defending champion Gary Shimmin of Okatie (South Carolina) just missed the cut finishing one stroke back with a three day total of 77-75-74—226.
The winner earns an exemption into the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship. And from that tournament next month two Canadian Open exemptions will be handed out to the Canadian Men’s Amateur champion and runner-up. Mississaugua Golf & Country Club will host the Amateur from August 11-18. The Canadian Open will be played September 4-10 at Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Ancaster.
Additionally, the Senior Match-Play Champion will also receive an exemption into the 2006 Canadian Men’s Senior Championship, September 18-21 in Winnipeg, and a coveted exemption to compete at this year’s United States Golf Association’s Senior Men’s Championship set for the Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh Indiana from September 16-21.