Todd Hendley will have to rearrange his golf resume and maybe his trophy case.
He has won a championship that belongs at the top of his list of accomplishments.
Hendley won the Senior North-South Amateur at Pinehurst. The 66th annual event is one of the top Senior Amateur events in the country.
“It is pretty cool to win this at Pinehurst,” said Hendley. “It is a great golf course and I had some great competition and that makes it even more special,” he said.
Pinehurst #2 is the course that has hosted US Opens and US Amateurs and the golfer he topped in a playoff is a Carolina legend.
Hendley needed an extra hole to win the tournament title over Paul Simson of Raleigh, the winningest golfer among Carolina amateurs.
The 2013 Greenville County Amateur champion started the day two shots behind Simson and Walter Todd of Laurens.
Hendley didn’t get off to the kind of start he wanted when he bogeyed the first two holes and told himself he had to get going.
“I remember thinking, this is going to be a really good comeback,” joked the SCGA Senior champion.
Hendley got back on the right track with three birdies in a row. He then added birdies on numbers 7 and 8 to make the turn even with Simson.
The two time SCGA Mid-Am champion never was 100% sure how he stood in the tournament.
He thought he was close to the lead and found out he had a one stroke advantage when Simson chatted with him between holes.
“I was in the group in front of Simson and he let me know I was one shot up on him. I would rather be chasing than ahead,” Hendley said.
He would get his chance to play from behind in the last few holes as the two golfers swapped the lead. Hendley birdied the final hole and then waited for Simson to finish his round with a par and force the playoff.
The two golfers played number 18 again. Hendley got an advantage with a perfect tee shot while Simson’s tee ball landed near a wire grass clump.
The eight time winner in the North-South Amateur hit a great recovery shot, but could not convert his par putt. Hendley rolled in a routine par on the hole that has statues of Donald Ross and Payne Stewart watching the action.
Hendley’s name would be added to the impressive list of winners in a classic amateur event.
“The winner gets his name on the wall in the clubhouse and it is pretty good to be on a list that includes some great golfers,” he said.
The long hall leading to the golf shop in the Pinehurst clubhouse has sections dedicated to every major event that is played at the Donald Ross designed course.
Hendley shot rounds of 71-70 and 68 for his 7-under par 209 total. The scores are all the more amazing when you know that Hendley had never played any of the three tournament courses before the event.
“I got to Pinehurst on Friday and played three practice rounds. I had played pretty well coming into the tournament. In the first round I missed only one green by about two feet. In the final round I hit a lot of good shots and had a bunch of 10-footers that I made,” said Hendley.
Fresh off his win at Pinehurst, Hendley will next test his game at the US Senior Amateur later this month. The tournament will be played at The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis.
Categories: Upstate Amateur Golf