Washington's Chris Williams runs away with state amateur title
Huskies' senior-to-be wins by 10 strokes
Special to The Seattle Times
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD — For a fellow who wanted to be playing in the U.S. Open this week, Chris Williams won a pretty good consolation prize — the Washington State Men's Amateur Championship.
Williams, the University of Washington All-American who is ranked the No. 6 amateur golfer in the world, protected his six-stroke lead with steady golf Friday and won the four-day tournament by a staggering 10 strokes.
Williams shot a 3-under 68 on the Eagles Pride Golf Course for a total of 271 (67-67-69-68).
The runner-up was Nick Varelia, who had the day's low round of 67 with a six-birdie, two-bogey performance to finish at 281.
Varelia, a Kentwood High School graduate, just completed his final season at Western Washington University. Two Western teammates — Dylan Goodwin and Mark Strickland — were in the final group Friday with Williams and wound up tying for fifth with Casey Adams at 286.
The 2010 champion, Jeremy Wendelken of Sammamish, was third at 282.
Williams didn't advance out of the June 5 sectional qualifier for the U.S. Open.
"I was really upset not to qualify for the Open," said Williams, who didn't regain his rhythm that day in Oregon after a rain delay.
Williams found himself with this week open on his dance card and said getting into the state amateur "was kind of a last-minute deal."
Williams, who grew up in Moscow, Idaho, and will be a senior at UW in the fall, had failed to win in his two previous attempts at the state amateur. He was in contention after two rounds in 2009 at Palouse Ridge in Pullman but signed an incorrect scorecard, self-reported the mistake, and was disqualified. He called that "super frustrating" and said ever since then he has taken extra time to double-check his card. In 2010, at White Horse Golf Club in Kingston, his math was good but his putter was uncooperative.
Williams, who leaves for Ireland next week to play in the Palmer Cup before returning to defend his title in the Sahalee Players Championship, played conservatively Friday after making the turn at 2-under 34.
"I didn't want to do anything too crazy on the back," he said. "Fairways and greens, two putts here and there. I didn't want to make it any more suspenseful than it was. That was the game plan after playing a solid front nine."
His front nine included three birdies and his only bogey, a three-putt on the par-4 465-yard fifth hole.