Williams takes Medal at Western Am

Chris Williams shot 70 and 66 in Thursday's third and fourth rounds of the 109th Western Amateur Championship to cruise to a three-stroke win over the field and claim medalist honours. Williams finished the stroke play at 16-under 266 (66-66-70-66) to beat Patrick Rodgers.

The win tops off an already stellar season for Williams.

Williams began his summer by winning the US Open qualifier with a 6-under 138 at Gold Mountain Golf Club in Bremerton, Washington. Since the US Open, Williams has built upon the experience at Congressional with two more victories, the Sahalee Players Championship and the Pacific Coast Amateur.

Currently ranked 7th in the World, William's hot streak could not come at a better time as officials are in the process of selecting the final six spots for the US squad in September's Walker Cup.

A total of 10 amateurs will be named to the team to represent the United States commencing September 10 at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in Scotland. UCLA's Patrick Cantlay, Oklahoma State's Peter Uihlein and Georgia teammates Harris English and Russell Henley were named to the squad on July 31.

Two Australians, Todd Sinnott and Nathan Holman, were the only Aussies from the eleven hopefuls to make the plus-2 cut after Wednesday's second round.

Holman opened the day with an impressive three-under-par 68 to be in a tie for 16th going to the lunch, yet found the afternoon conditions challenging firing a 75 to finish in a tie with Sinnott in 32nd position. Holman had earlier rounds of 70-73.

Sinnott, who's accounted for five top-20 finishes in these main amateur events in the US, fired closing rounds of 71-72 after earlier rounds of 72-71 to also finish at 2-over-par.

This was Holman's and Sinnott's maiden US tour and despite not progressing to the top-16, they both have taken much away from the experience.

"It was great to play well and give yourself opportunities," said Sinnott after today's final round.

"I came here not knowing what to expect, and generally I've shown to myself that I can compete with the best in the world. This was a great tour and I cannot wait to return to play again. These tournaments are just pure."

Holman's morning round of 68 was likewise impressive and it reinforces the talents these two young guns possess.

More seasoned Australians failed to equal what Holman and Sinnott achieved this week in Chicago and it sends a stern message back to the Australian selectors that they should not be discounted for future teams.

Yet, aside from Holman's and Sinnott's achievements, overall the Australian effort at this Western Amateur was disappointing.

The fact that Williams knocked off Aaron Price's 15-under-par record set in 2004, just rubbed salt into our wounds.

Some of our players lacked punch this week and it was reflected in their scores. Irrespective of previous tournament commitments and number of weeks on the road, the Aussies simply did not fire in Chicago. You would go as far to say that some even looked liked that they were on their last legs and could not wait to pack their bags and get back to the land down under.

A lack poise and fight was missing amongst some of our players at a time when arguably the second biggest amateur tournament in the world was being played. Better preparation and willingness to grind it out might be attributes to consider should they return in twelve months time when this event will again to the Chicago area.

Tournaments like the Western and it's gruelling format tests the mantel of a player. It's tournaments like these where the cream rises to the top. Unfortunately, this tournament was a lost opportunity for many of our guys as they certainly have the game to challenge a field like that which was assembled by the Western Golf Association in Chicago.

Also in top-16 match play is US Junior Amateur, Jordan Spieth who's the number 3 seed, reigning US Amateur champion, Peter Uihlein, the number 8 seed and world number 1, Patrick Cantlay, who will meet Williams in the first round of 16 on Friday.

Others looking to advance through are 2009 champion John Hahn and 2010 finalist, Gregor Main.

The semifinal and championship matches are Saturday.

Prominent players who missed the cut include Tom Lewis, the low amateur at the British Open, world number 4 and Walker Cupper Russell Henley and defending champ David Chung.

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