Northern Exposure: Winners prove location isn't everything
Chris Williams, Peter Williamson and
Werenski have defied the odds to win this
Say what you will, but these northern guys sure know how to play.
Four of amateur golf's toughest and most prestigious tests this summer were won by players hailing from states well north of the region of the nation that enjoys a 12-month golf season.
And the ways in which those victors have taken their respective titles may prove that winning golf can continue to be played by northerners and it's not just a fad.
Peter Williamson, a Hanover, N.H. native, took home a pair of lofty titles this summer. After graduating from Dartmouth, where he honed his skills near the Vermont-New Hampshire border (about three hours from Montreal for you southerners), the 6-foot-4 baseball-gripping ace took home top honors at the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst and the Southern Amateur. Talk about a pair of road wins.
Richy Werenski, a native of South Hadley, Mass. (in the western part of the state) won the prestigious Porter Cup in Niagara Falls. While Werenski plays his college golf at Georgia Tech, there's no discounting the fact that his roots and never-say-die attitude were developed on the windy, wet (winter, spring and fall) and quick-to-burn (summer) fairways in the northeast.
Chris Williams may be the only player having a better summer than Williamson. The Washington Huskies star by way of Moscow, Idaho(!) is simply on fire. He won the Western Amateur, perhaps amateur golf's toughest field and format, this past weekend and took home the Washington State Amateur earlier this summer. He won the NCAA Southwest Regional Championship and was the runner-up at the Sahalee Players.
All three players have a knack for winning and they all do it with a grind-it-out style. Of his many attributes, Williamson is most proud of his ability to avoid ruts and scorecard explosions. Even when a hole goes south (pun intended), he doesn't get worried. He, much like his northernly counterparts, is able to grind it out.
We saw Keegan Bradley, a Vermont native and the north's most recent PGA Tour success story, grind it out for a win this past weekend at the WGC Bridgestone and we very well may see it again soon at Kiawah Island where he'll defend his PGA Championship.
The grind-it-out mentality is such a crucial characteristic for most golfers to have and if you developed your skills in less-than-ideal conditions with even less-than-ideal practice amenities, you'll be a step ahead mentally than those who grew their skills on plush fairways under perfect conditions.
Of course, it takes much skill and golf talent to even compete in the events Williamson, Werenski and Williams have won this year. But in their case, the high level of golf talent they possess combined with their never-say-quit northern-born demeanor is a deadly combination for opponents.
All three players will take aim at the U.S. Amateur next week at Cherry Hills.