Those looking for an edge this weekend on the hottest golfer in the area might have to hope Rob Simmons is just too tired to continue posting low numbers.
The Beaufort resident will defend his Beaufort City Championship title starting today at Fripp Island's Ocean Point course. Simmons successfully defended his Hilton Head Amateur title this past Sunday and on Friday qualified for his second U.S. Amateur, shooting 68-70 to finish 6-under-par and grab medalist honors in the sectional tournament at Cutter Creek Golf Club in Snow Hill, N.C.
After walking two rounds at Cutter Creek, Simmons said he will be ready to hop back in a cart this weekend. He will be one of 46 Beaufort County amateurs and professionals competing for the Beaufort City title.
The 36-hole championship is usually held on Fripp Island's Ocean Creek course the second day but will be contested on the links-style Ocean Point both rounds this year. The difference could determine the champion. Some, including Fripp Island director of golf Char Cormier, prefer the inland Creek design to Point, trying only to survive the first day.
Now everyone will be forced to tough the George Cobb-designed seaside layout, which features small, heavily bunkered greens and is at the mercy of the breezes. Simmons said Ocean Point will be an adjustment after playing a U.S. Amateur sectional set up at 7,300 yards, with firm, fast greens.
"It's a real placement golf course," Simmons said. "It's really short. I'll have to think my way around it."
Simmons struggled with Ocean Point in the years prior to his victory. He opened with a 70 in 2011, committing to a different mind-set.
The 33-year-old Simmons, who last qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 2000, said he has played more the past couple of years, received some valuable instruction from Shane LeBaron and has worked hard on his putting.
The results are pouring in. He will travel to Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado to compete in the U.S. Amateur starting Aug. 13.
Simmons lost in the first round of match play in his first appearance at the U.S. Amateur, 12 years ago.
"One shot at a time, the same thing I've been doing the last week or so," Simmons said of his approach this time. "Just work on your putting and one shot at a time. It will be a great field."
BEAUFORT CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
What: Thirty-six hole stroke play tournament open to Beaufort County amateurs and professionals
Where: Fripp Island's Ocean Point Golf Links (par 72)
When: Today and Sunday
Details: Registration is closed. Players will be flighted after Round 1.
BEAUFORT CITY CHAMPIONSHIP TEE TIMES
Today, Ocean Point Golf Course, Fripp Island
(All golfers tee off on No. 1)
9 a.m. -- Shannon Boyles, Jeff Abrams, Todd Strattan
9:10 a.m. -- Adam Johnson, Matt Johnson, Hayden Cormier
9:20 a.m. -- Todd Stone, Don Johnson, Rob Simmons
9:40 a.m. -- Charles Hrabnok, Tommy Earl, Alex Totusek
9:50 a.m. -- Paul Robinson, Dennis Robinson, Brian Gecy
10 a.m. -- George Smith, Bobby Gecy Jr., Kevin Rhatigan
10:10 a.m. -- Jeff Pinckney, Russ Fickes, Char Cormier
10:20 a.m. -- Joe Bryant, Brian Rizzon, Marcus Byler, J.D. Hoft
10:30 a.m. -- Todd Taylor, Jimmy Boozer, Brent Cooper, Lewis Turner
10:40 a.m. -- Phil Weber, Jon Verity, Bobby Gecy, Belton McCarty
11 a.m. -- Dan McCormack, Larry Mathias, Mike Marusha, Dave Zanone
11:10 a.m. -- Patrick Mitchell, Josh Fickes, Reed Weatherford
11:20 a.m. -- Benji Gecy, Tom Westlake, Keith Potts, Bob Bicknell