Williams advances at Western Am match play
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Chris Williams enjoyed seeing history repeat itself Thursday after the 72-hole, stroke-play qualifying segment in the 110th Western Amateur at Exmoor Country Club.
That’s because, for the second consecutive year, the senior at Washington became the record-setting medalist. In 2011, at North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Ill., Williams won the medal with a 16-under performance. This time around, he went one better, topping the field with a 17-under 271.
What he didn’t want was to have history repeat itself Friday in the Sweet 16 round of match play of this storied championship.
After earning the No. 1 seeding for match play in 2011, Williams was ousted in the opening round by world top-ranked Patrick Cantlay, 3 and 2.
He made sure that didn’t happen again Friday morning. The 2011 U.S. Walker Cup team member took care of business quickly as he rolled past Richard Lamb, a senior at Tennessee, 6 and 5.
Williams, a first-team All-American last season, won the first hole with a birdie and never looked back. He won the third and fourth holes to go 3 up. After Lamb won No. 7, Williams won Nos. 8, 10, 11 and 12 for a 6-up lead.
In other Sweet 16 matches:
• Brandon Stone of South Africa, an incoming Texas freshman, overcame a 2-down deficit early to defeat BYU senior Zac Blair, 1-up. A birdie at No. 11 gave Stone a 1-up lead, and the two halved the next seven holes.
• Sean Dale, a senior at North Florida, turned back USC junior Jeffrey Kang, 3 and 2. Dale was 3 up after 10, but Kang won Nos. 12 and 13. Dale then won 14 with a birdie and closed out the match with a par at No. 16.
• Abraham Ancer, a senior at Oklahoma, birdied the 20th hole (No. 2) to edge Cheng-Tsung Pan, a sophomore at Washington. Neither player led by more than one hole at any time, and Pan sent the match to extra holes with a par at the 18th after Ancer failed to get up and down from short of the green.
• Lorens Chan, at 18 the youngest player to make match play, made par at the 20th hole when he got up and down from over the green and beat Pedro Figueiredo, who three-putted, missing a 3-footer for par. Chan, who will be a freshman at UCLA, was 2 up after 13, but Figueiredo, a senior at UCLA won Nos. 14 and 15.
• Peter Williamson, a recent Dartmouth graduate, never trailed on his way to a 4-and-3 win over Alex Moon, a recent Texas graduate. After winning holes 8 and 9, Williamson, who earlier this summer won the North & South Amateur and Southern Amateur, was 5 up. Moon cut the margin by two holes before Williamson closed things out by winning the par-5 15th with a bogey.
• Justin Thomas, a sophomore at Alabama who last season won the Nicklaus Award and Haskins Award as player of the year and the Mickelson Award as freshman of the year, never trailed in defeating Mackenzie Hughes, a recent Kent State grad, 2 and 1.
• Jordan Russell, who just finished his college career at Texas A&M, slipped past UNLV senior Kevin Penner, 2 and 1. Russell, runner-up at this year’s Northeast Amateur, was 2 up through 10 holes, but Penner won Nos. 11 and 12 with birdies to square the match. Russell closed it out by winning Nos. 15 and 16 with birdies.
The Friday afternoon quarterfinal matchups pitted Williams vs. Stone; Dale vs. Ancer; Chan vs. Williamson; and Thomas vs. Russell.
The winners of those matches will meet in Saturday morning’s semifinals, with the 18-hole championship match set for Saturday afternoon.