The West Berkshire golfer won a play-off to lift the coveted silver trophy and £10,000 first prize but only after last year’s runner up Andrew Barnett, had missed a putt of some two-and-a-half to three feet for victory on the 72nd hole.
The miss left the pair tied at 283 and into a sudden death play-off with Simpson carding a 76 and Barnett a 75. The pair both bogeyed the 18th on the first extra hole but Simpson secured the title with a par from 10ft after Barnett saw his seven-foot putt for par slide just past the hole.
It was a bitter blow for Barnett from the North Wales Driving Range who came within a whisker of winning the title last year only to be denied by John Dwyer in another play-off.
The Welshman appeared to have erased that memory and had victory within his grasp standing on 17 with a two shot lead and just two to play but succumbed to the pressure, much to Simpson’s relief.
A delighted but slightly dazed Simpson admitted he was shocked to have won given his restricted competitive appearances this season but pinpointed his successive 67s in the second and third rounds as a turning point.
“I’m surprised to be honest, the way I was playing before I came into the tournament, I didn’t really give myself a chance,” he said.
“But shooting 67s in the middle gave me a little bit of confidence. The dropped shots on 13 and 14 were a bit of a downer but I actually played okay from 15 onwards.
“It’s a fantastic highlight, up there with playing in the PGA Cup in 1998 and of course it looks like I’ll get to do that again.”
An absorbing last round at Moortown, played amid blustering and testing conditions, ebbed and flowed but always looked in Simpson’s control until a three shot swing on 13 when the Oxford-based pro double-bogeyed and Barnett birdied.
When Simpson bogeyed 14, the field suddenly bunched up with Paul Wesselingh (Kedleston Park) and William Barnes (RBE Golf) suddenly factors in the equation.
Wesselingh’s challenge came up just short with a bogey on 16 but his one under 70 for third place total of 284 boosted his hopes of a sixth PGA Cup appearance at Carrick House next year.
“I’m looking back on a few putts that went begging and I’m thinking I could have won it but I’m happy with a top three and I’m pretty sure that will get me into PGA Cup team next year,” he said.
“It also puts me in with a shout of making the England team for the PGAs of Europe International Team Championship.”
Barnes also boosted his PGA Cup ambitions with fourth place following a level par 71 to finish one over for the tournament.
Barnes, in just his second Glenmuir appearance, was keeping a close eye on the leaderboard and after three birdies moved him into contention by the 13th was harbouring hopes of a late charge until a bogey at 14 knocked his momentum.
“I saw them dropping back and thought if I could get down to two or one under it would be interesting but it wasn’t to be,” he said.
“But I’m happy with my play and I’d love to play in the PGA Cup because two of my close friends, Danny Taylor and James Whatley, played in it last year and it sounds fantastic.”
Graeme Bell (Eaglescliffe) and David Shacklady (Mossock Hall) had closing rounds of 75 to finish tied fifth at two over par on 286.
GLENMUIR PGA PROFESSIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Moortown Golf Club, Tuesday 29 July – Friday 1 August 2008
1= 283 (-1) Paul Simpson West Berkshire 73 67 67 76
Andrew Barnett North Wales 71 68 69 75
3 284(Par) Paul Wesselingh Kedleston Park 71 70 73 70
4 285 (+1) William Barnes RBE Golf 68 72 74 71
5= 286 (+2) Graeme Bell Eaglescliffe 70 69 72 75
David Shacklady Mossock Hall 72 70 69 75
7= 287 (+3) Craig Shave Whetstone 71 72 71 73
Duncan Muscroft Montecchia 70 73 69 75
Craig Ronald Carluke 74 70 68 75
10= 288 (+4) Matthew Griffiths Oakdale 71 74 73 70
Jeremy Robinson Sports Masters Int 69 71 73 75
PGA CUP POINTS STANDINGS AFTER 2008 CHAMPIONSHIP
(points count double next year)
Paul Simpson 10
Andrew Barnett 9
Paul Wesselingh 8
William Barnes 7
Graeme Bell 5.5
David Shacklady 5.5
Craig Shave 3
Duncan Muscroft 3
Craig Ronald 3
Matthew Griffiths 0.5
Jeremy Robinson 0.5