Chris Williams Reigns Supreme at 18th Sahalee Players Championship
Sammamish, Wash. – Chris Williams of Moscow, Idaho held off the hard charging field to win the 18th Sahalee Players Championship at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. Williams, a 2011 U.S. Open qualifier, took the lead yesterday afternoon and finished off posting a 72-hole total of 1-under par 287 to capture his first Sahalee Players victory.
Chris Williams, 2011 Sahalee Players Championship winner.
In the Final Round, Williams started with a two shot lead and quickly increased it with a birdie on the first hole of the day and navigated the high heavenly ground making one more birdie on the par 3, 13th. All that was needed was a routine par on the 18th to finish with a 1-over par 73 and the victory. When asked what this win means to him, Williams said, "It is huge. It's by far the biggest win I've had. It is always a top 20 event in the world and it's awesome that it is in our backyard."
Williams is a University of Washington Sophomore who has a specific goal in mind of making the prestigious Walker Cup that includes a select few amateurs from the United States who compete against a European amateur team biannually. When asked what this win would do for his Walker Cup status he said,
"This is a big event and people pay attention to that. The last two guys to win this won the Hogan Cup and this attracts the best players in the world. They (USGA Selection Committee) will look at this win and hopefully it will bode well for me."
World Team Amateur participant, Minghao Wang of Alpharetta, GA., made a move on the back nine making birdies on holes 11 and 12 to get one shot off the lead at 1-under par heading into #16. His aggressive approach shot ended up lost in the trees along with his hopes of a Sahalee Players title as he would make a triple bogey.
BYU Sophomore, Zac Blair made a run of his own making four birdies on the front nine to get two shots off the lead but his hope of victory also met its end at 16 where he made his only bogey of the round. He would make birdie on the finishing hole for an impressive 4-under par round of 68 bringing his 72-hole total to even par 288, good enough for runner-up honors with Chen-Tsung Pan of Sammamish, Wash.
Pan's round got off to a shaky start after making bogey at the first and double bogey at the second. While he would go three under par from there, it proved to be too large a hole to dig out of coming up one shot short with a 72-hole total of even par 288.
Junior phenom, Beau Hossler Jr. of Mission Viejo, Cal. lead the first round of play and after a pair of 76's yesterday in rounds 2 and 3 found his groove again with a final round 3-under par 69 which brought his 4-day total to 1-over par 289 good enough for a tie for fourth place. Hossler will look to ride this momentum into the US Juniors in two weeks at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Wash.
The course conditions were firm, fast, and ideal for championship golf and made for a thrilling championship at the prestigious venue.
This year marks the 18th year of the Sahalee Players Championship which returns to Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. after moving to The Home Course last year due to the club hosting the 2010 U.S. Senior Open won by Bernhard Langer. This year's championship will be contested over 72 holes of stroke play from July 6-8, 2011. Last year Peter Uihlein won by setting a tournament record of 17-under par and joined an impressive list of past champions that includes Nick Taylor, Daniel Summerhays, Kyle Stanley, Ryan Moore, Arron Oberholser and Jason Gore.
In addition to the U.S. Senior Open, Sahalee Country Club has also tested the world's best with hosting the 1998 PGA Championship won by Vijay Singh and the 2002 World Golf Championship NEC Invitational won by Craig Perry.
The Pacific Northwest Golf Association teamed up with Sahalee Country Club 10 years ago to create the "Western Swing" with the PNGA Men's Amateur Championship. The Sahalee Players Championship is the first leg of the swing, with the PNGA Men's Amateur being played to week after. The two events teamed up together with a primary goal of giving amateur golfers in the west an opportunity to play two major national amateur championships back-to-back.
Sahalee Country Club and the Pacific Northwest Golf Association extend their sincere congratulations to the top finishers at the 2011 Sahalee Players Championship.
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