Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (June 14, 2012) -- Chris Williams of Moscow, Idaho played a smooth third round to take sole possession of 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 four players have broken par after three rounds in the championship on the challenging 7,026-yard, par 71 layout. Williams, a senior next year on the men’s golf team at the University of Washington, had four birdies tempered by two bogeys in the third round putting him six shots clear of his nearest competitor. Opening the championship with a pair of 67s in each of the first two rounds, his 2-under par 69 today positions him at 10-under par heading into tomorrow’s final round.
“I hit some good shots today,” said Williams, in a bit of an understatement. His approach on the par-4 ninth stopped within 3-feet of the cup for his eleventh birdie in his first 45-holes, which also included an eagle, 3 on the par-5 sixth yesterday.
Yesterday it was announced that Williams had been named first team All-American by Golfweek magazine and enters the summer season sixth in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. He 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.”
Mark Strickland of Mukilteo, Wash. sits alone in second place, six shots behind Williams. After shooting a pair of 67s in rounds one and two to tie Williams at the half-way point in the championship, Strickland struggled in the third round, shooting a 4-over-par 75. “I opened great (with a birdie on the first hole),” he said. “But just couldn’t get anything going after that. No putts fell and I lost my momentum. That’s golf.” He bogeyed holes three, four and five, and then double-bogeyed the par-4 13th to take out whatever wind was left in his sails on this day.
Strickland plays on the Western Washington University men’s golf team, where he’ll be entering his second year of eligibility after red-shirting his freshman year. 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.
(Watch Strickland’s full interview: http://bit.ly/WSGAMARKS ) The third player in the final group of the day was first round leader Sean McMullen, who had opened with a 6-under-par 65, then shot consecutive 74s to fall into fifth spot. Past champion Jeremy Wendelken (2010) moved up a couple positions into a tie for third at 1-under par 212 with last year’s third place finisher, Dylan Goodwin of Mukilteo, Wash. Tee times for Friday’s final round will begin at 7:30am, with the leaders teeing off at 10:40am. An awards ceremony will follow the conclusion of the final round where the John M. Bodenhamer Trophy will be presented by Colonel Thomas Brittain, JBLM Commander.
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