Jim Simons (1950-2005) won many junior and amateur championships prior to turning professional in 1972. He won the PGA Junior Championship in 1965 and 1966, the 1966 West Penn Junior, and in 1969 he won Western Junior, and the West Penn Amateur and Pennsylvania Amateur Championships. He also won the Pennsylvania Amateur in 1970.
He qualified for two U.S. Opens before graduating from high school. After transferring from Houston to Wake Forest, he was a two-time All-American and was named NCAA Player of the Year in 1971. In 1971, he led the U.S. Open at Merion after three rounds before finishing fifth. No amateur has finished higher since. He was also runner-up in the British Amateur and represented the United States in the Walker Cup in 1971. The following year he repeated as low amateur in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Simons played the PGA Tour from 1972-86 where he recorded three victories, the New Orleans Open in 1977, the 1978 Memorial Tournament and the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am in 1982. He also tied for first in three more events, the 1979 Buick Open, the 1980 Hartford Open and the 1984 Bob Hope Classic, only to lose in playoffs. He played in 12 U.S. Opens, made eight cuts, and finished in the top 25 on four occasions.
He was also the first player to win a televised PGA Tour event using a metal driver. The Association’s Boys Championship Trophy is named in his honor.
Simons was inducted into the Wake Forest University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996.