Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. – Chris Williams of Moscow, Idaho was able to claim the title on a perfect afternoon at the 86th Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship, conducted by the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) and held at Eagles Pride Golf Course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Beginning the day with a six-stroke lead, Williams continued his solid play with birdies on the 1st, 4th and 6th holes which offset his lone bogey of the round at the difficult par-4, 465 yard 5th. In true champion form, Williams closed his title run with a birdie, 4, at the 621 yard, par-5 18th hole, giving him a round of 3-under par 68 and a 72-hole total, 13-under par 271. Williams’ collective 16 birdies and 1 eagle on the week came from a strategy he calls, “Keep it easy, and keep it simple,” which he executed to perfection on the narrow 7,026 yard, par-71 layout.
Williams, a senior next year on the men’s golf team at the University of Washington, is the reigning WSGA Men’s Player of the Year and the 2007 WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year. Williams has come full circle in this championship. In 2009, when the championship was held at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash., Williams, who was fresh out of high school awaiting his freshman year, disqualified himself after the second round for signing an incorrect scorecard. He had walked away from the scoring table after his round, went to lunch, and upon returning to the scoreboard, realized there may have been a mistake on one of the holes on his card. He returned to the scoring table, explained the situation (that he had signed for a 70 rather than a 71, his actual score), and acknowledged that he would be disqualified under Rule 6-6d in The Rules of Golf. Nobody would have known about the incorrect score – but he knew, and called it on himself. He was tied for sixth at the time, clearly in contention heading into the third round. “Super frustrating to play well and end the tournament with a disqualification.” expresses Chris now in reflection, “So now I take extra time to check my scorecard.”
Two days ago it was announced that Williams had been named first team All-American by Golfweek magazine and enters the summer season ranked sixth in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. He is continuing his stellar play this year 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 with six; he also holds the course record at eight different golf courses. He qualified for last year’s U.S. Open. He was a four-time Idaho State High School 4A champion.
Nick Varelia of Kent, Wash. posted the low round of the day, a 4-under par 67 to jump four positions and claim the runner-up trophy, finishing the championship with a 3-under par 281. Varelia, a recent senior on the Western Washington University men’s golf team, was named 2012 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year while leading the Vikings to a conference title.
2010 Washington State Men’s Amateur Champion, Jeremy Wendelken of Sammamish, Wash., finished alone in third place with a two-under par total of 282. Wendelken, a recent senior on the Sonoma State University men’s golf team, struggled out of the gate this morning, making back-to-back bogies on the 4th and 5th but rebounded with birdies at the 6th, 12th and 16th holes to post a 1-under par 70.
Mike Haack of Bellevue, Wash. finished unaccompanied in fourth place after posting a 2-under par 69 today, totaling a 1-over 285 for the championship.
Eagles Pride Golf Course, a military course that is open to the public and located on the property of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, had Staff Sgt. David Sadlemyer hold the flagstick which was accompanied by an American golf-flag, on the side of the 18th green as each group finished the final round. Sadlemyer, originally from Minnesota, has been in the service 12 years and has served several tours of duty overseas, including Iraq, Kosovo, Cuba and Macedonia. Married with three kids, Sgt. Sadlemyer carries a single-digit handicap at the course, and volunteers there whenever he has time. “I get to play maybe once a week or so,” he said. “I come out and help with marshaling and the pro shop. A golf course is a good place to be.”
Eagles Pride Golf Course has hosted two previous Washington State Men’s Amateur Championships, with the first in 1983, won by Jim Empey, and most recently in 1999, won by Ryan Lavoie. The 27-hole golf course features three 9-hole courses, labeled Red, Blue, and Green, of which the Red and Blue courses are being used for the championship. The original 18-hole course at Eagles Pride was designed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1937, while the final 9 holes, designed by William Teufel, were built in 1979. Eagles Pride Golf Course has been voted in the top 10 of military courses by Travel and Leisure magazine.
For more information on the 86th Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship and the rest of the 14 amateur championships conducted by the WSGA this year, please visit www.thewsga.org.
Since 1922, the WSGA has been conducting the state’s amateur golf championships. Today, it is one of the largest amateur golf associations in the United Stated. Serving over 80,000 members, 600 member golf clubs and 270 golf courses throughout the state of Washington and Northern Idaho, the WSGA works to continually expand the game of golf to people of all backgrounds.
The WSGA is a 501(c)4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers, for the benefit of amateur golfers. The 25-person WSGA Board of Directors employs a full-time staff of 14 individuals. WSGA members pay an annual membership fee, through their golf club, to belong to the Association. The WSGA also serves as a state-wide representative of the United States Golf Association (USGA) and works closely with a number of allied associations within the golf industry for the betterment of the game.