So Close: Williams Nearly Defends His Sahalee Title
July 6, 2012
SAMMAMISH, Wash. - Husky golfer Chris Williams led after 71 holes of the 2012 Sahalee Players Championship, but it was the 72nd hole that cost the UW senior-to-be a shot of becoming the first repeat champion of the tournament.
Williams bogeyed the par-5 18th hole, while his playing partner Kevin Penner birdied to force a three-way playoff. Ben Geyer joined in the fray after posting a blistering 6-under 66 in Friday's final round. All three were 9-under 279 and three shots better than the field.
In the playoff, which was on the same 18th hole that spelled disaster for Williams moments earlier, all three competitors were on the green in regulation. Williams missed his 22-foot putt birdie putt first and watched as Penner sunk a six foot putt to eliminate Williams. Geyer missed a four footer that would have sent him into another playoff hole with Penner.
For Williams, rated No. 2 in the latest World Amateur Golf Rankings, the day got off to rough start when he arrived at the course minutes before his tee time. Williams was pulled over for speeding on the way to the course and did not warm up for the final round. He promptly shanked his first drive on the first hole, but rescued his start by draining a 40-foot putt to save par.
Williams ultimately would shoot an even-par 72.
In all, six golfer that will play for Matt Thurmond's Huskies next year were in the tournament. After Williams, Cheng-Tsung Pan was the next highest finisher. Pan ended up tied for seventh after finishing 1-under for the week. Pan shot a 2-over 74 on Friday.
Charlie Hughes tied for 11th after ending up 1-over for the tournament. He shot 1-over 73 during the final round.
Another UW newcomer Tylder Salsbury tied for 50th after shooting +16 overall.
The Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA) partnered with Sahalee Country Club 13 years ago to create the "Western Swing" with the Pacific Northwest Men's Amateur Championship. The Sahalee Players Championship is the first leg of the swing, with the Pacific Northwest Men's Amateur being played the following week. The two championships combined with a primary goal of providing amateur golfers in the West an opportunity to play two major national amateur championships without having to travel to the East Coast.