HOMESICK rifleman Paul Simpson shot himself to within a whisker of winning bronze for Hong Kong, and then shot off home. Simpson, 36, finished fifth in the men's individual small-bore rifle prone competition in the Commonwealth Games at Heals Range, Victoria. He qualified joint third for the final from 39 shooters with a score of 591, a Hong Kong record which also qualifies him for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Simpson then missed third place by 1.5 points, finishing fifth with 101.1 for an overall total of 693.1. But he was delighted with his performance and is looking forward to arriving in Hong Kong today (Hong Kong time) to see his wife, Jenny, and two daughters, Fiona, five, and Julia, three. ''I would like to stay for the closing ceremonies, but I'm missing the family and I want to get back to Hong Kong,'' said the Australian-born Simpson, who works for Sun Hung Kai. ''But it will be good to go back with this performance. They have had to put up with me going away to training early in the mornings and I'm glad I've got some sort of result. ''Naturally, I would have liked to win a medal. But it was a very close final, it was only a matter of fractions, so I can't really be disappointed with that.'' Hong Kong's other shooter in the event, Peter Rull Snr, who at 72 is the oldest competitor at the Games, finished 26th in qualification with 578 and failed to enter the final. New Zealand's Stephen Petterson was first in qualification with 596, beating his own Games record of 593. He also won the gold by shooting 102.4 in the finals. England's James Cornish, 595 in qualification, won the silver with 101.9. Canadian bronze medallist, Michel Dion, scored 103.9. Simpson, whose previous personal best was 589, failed to qualify for the finals in the last Games in Auckland, New Zealand. Hong Kong's former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Gilbert U, finished a disappointing 16th in the men's free pistol event. A disastrous fourth string of shots saw his running total plunge as he shot 532.