-- photo WSGA
-- photo WSGA
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- (June 13, 2012) – Chris Williams of Moscow, Idaho and Mark Strickland of Mukilteo, Wash. each fired a second consecutive 4-under-par 67 to share the lead at the 86th Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship, conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) and being held at Eagles Pride Golf Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Only five players have broken par at the 36-hole half-way point in the championship on the challenging 6,991-yard, par 71 layout. Williams, who had pieced together a bogey-free 67 in the first round of the championship, teed off this morning in one of the day’s early groups and put up another 67 to give the rest of the field something to shoot for. Strickland, playing in one of the last groups of the day, answered with his second 67 of the championship.

Williams eagled the short par-5 sixth hole that has a risk-reward second shot over a pond to make the turn at 2-under-par, and after a bogey on the par-4 14th he charged home with birdies on 15, 16 and 18.

“I putted better today,” he said. “And the greens were better than yesterday (with the drier weather). I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

A graduate of Moscow High School and soon to be senior next year on the men’s golf team at the University of Washington, Williams is continuing his stellar play having previously represented the U.S. team in the Walker Cup and the Palmer Cup. Williams is also the defending champion at the Sahalee Players Championship and the Pacific Coast Amateur, and holds the record at the UW for individual victories; he also holds the course record at eight different golf courses.

“It’s going to be a busy summer, and this (championship) is good for my game.”

Strickland, who graduated from Kamiak High School in Mukilteo and plays on the Western Washington University men’s golf team, had a solid round that could have been even lower.

“I was sticking my approach shots all day long,” he said. “But I couldn’t make a putt longer than eight feet. My game plan over the next two days is to work on my putting; then I’ve got a shot at this.”

Strickland is from solid golf stock – his uncle, Jim Strickland, won the Washington Open twice, the Oregon Open, and the PNGA Men’s Amateur, and was a teammate of Phil Mickelson on the men’s golf team at Arizona State University. First round leader Sean McMullen, who opened with a 6-under-par 65, shot a 3-over-par 74 and is now tied for third. Past champion Jeremy Wendelken (2010) shot a 3-under-par 68 and is alone in fifth place.

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