Winning hir 6th career title Chris Williams was key to the Huskies' win at Regionals -- photo Washington Athletics
NORMAN, Okla. (May 19, 2012) -- Chris Williams eagled the 18th hole to earn medalist honors and Washington held off a final-round charge from top-ranked Texas to take home the team title at the NCAA Southwest Regional on Saturday.
The third-seeded Huskies were 5-over-par 293 during the final round at a blustery Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course in Norman, Okla. No. 1 seed Texas shot 292 on Saturday but could not catch the Huskies, who had a five shot advantage entering the final round.
Washington ended up -4 for the tournament (860) to win by four shots over the Longhorns.
Florida State and Illinois tied for third at +7. Host Oklahoma secured the fifth and final ticket to the NCAA Championship hosted at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. by ending up at +10.
"All we really needed to do was finish in the top five and get our ticket punched to the Riviera - that's the national championship we're excited most about - but to win regionals is awesome," Husky Coach Matt Thurmond said from Oklahoma before boarding a flight home to Seattle.
"To win it here in Oklahoma, on their home course and against Texas, the No. 1 team in their backyard and in conditions they always play, it's especially satisfying."
The regional victory was the third in team history (also 2010 and 2002) and Williams joined Richard Lee (2010) as the only Huskies to earn the medalist titles.
Williams added on to his team record with his sixth career victory - his third this season - but needed every last hole to earn the win. He walked to the par-5 18th tee trailing Illinois' Thomas Pieters by one stroke, but erased that deficit after landing within seven feet of the flag on his second shot and draining the eagle putt. Williams also eagled the hole yesterday by draining a 75-footer.
Williams fired 4-under-par 68 for the second-consecutive day and ended up 7-under 209 overall.
"Chris Williams was extraordinary," Thurmond said. "To shoot 68 in the last two rounds with quite a bit of wind and then eagle the final hole to win the Regional championship ... It was just an awesome weekend for him and the guys."
Williams was one of four Huskies to end up among the top-20 individuals. Freshman Cheng-Tsung Pan was fourth (-2), sophomore Trevor Simsby tied for 10th (+2) and junior Charlie Hughes ended up tied for 18th (+5).
Ty Chambers tied for 52nd at (+14).
Pan and Simsby both shot 2-over 74 on Saturday, while Chambers shot 77 and Hughes 79.
"We've been through a lot in the last month or two and the guys just kept working and working," Thurmond said. "They pulled together in a special way and showed some real guts in the way we competed out there this week. We were clean and sharp in everything we did. When we had any adversity, we handled it really well."
The win returns Washington to the NCAA Championship (May 30-June 5) a year after the Huskies missed advancing by just one stroke. It marks the ninth time in 11 years under Thurmond - 12th time overall - that the Huskies will appear at the NCAA finals.
"I'm thrilled for the program and thrilled for all the guys on the team," Thurmond said. "I can't wait to go to Riviera and try to win a national championship."
NCAA Division I Golf Championship - Southwest Regional: Top Finishers