Two-Time Pennsylvania Amateur Champion, Jim Simons, Dies at Age 55
Jim Simons, A Butler, PA native and two-time Pennsylvania Amateur Champion (1969 and '70), died on Dec. 8 at the age of 55 in his Jacksonville, Florida home. The cause of death was not reported.
Simons played on the 1971 Walker Cup team. He was a 1971 and 1972 All-American at Wake Forest University, attending the university on an Arnold Palmer Scholarship. His teammates at Wake Forest included Lanny Wadkins.
In the summer of 1971, Simons, then a junior at Wake Forest, Simon shot a 5-under 65 in the third round of the U.S. Open and held a two-stroke lead after 54 holes at Merion Golf Club. He stumbled to a 6-over 76 and tied for fifth, three shots behind eventual winner Lee Trevino, but finished as low amateur. See More on the '71 US Open.....
Simons also was the low amateur at the 1972 U.S. Open, when he tied for 15th. He also played in the 1967 U.S. Opens at Baltusrol Golf Club and 1968 at Oak Hill, both times as a teenager.
Since World War II, only Jack Nicklaus has managed better U.S. Open finishes as an amateur, when he finished second to Arnold Palmer in 1960 at Cherry Hills Country Club and fourth at Oakland Hills in 1961.
On the PGA Tour Simons won the 1977 First NBC New Orleans Open, 1978 Memorial Tournament, and 1982 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am. In all, he amassed almost $1 million in earnings during a PGA Tour career that stretched from 1972 through 1988, when he scaled back his golf to concentrate on his stock brokerage business.
He also played a few events on the Champions Tour in recent years, most recently at the 2004 MasterCard Championship.
Simons is survived by three sons, Bradley, Sean and Ryan; as well as his mother and father, Orpah and Ralph Simons of Butler and Atlantis, Fla.; and three sisters.