Williams Wins Battle at the Beach

Feb. 16, 2010

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NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Chris Williams became the third Husky freshman to ever win a tournament title and Washington was second overall in the team standings in the Battle of the Beach, which concluded Tuesday.

Williams, from Moscow, Idaho, went from a non-qualifier for the Huskies first spring tournament of the season to a tournament champion in a matter of a week. He shot an even-par 71 in Monday's final round - which included birdies on two of his final three holes - to stake claim to a share of medalist honors with Arkansas' David Lingmerth.

'Obviously a very challenging position when you've only played a few college events, but he did a great job,' said Husky coach Matt Thurmond. 'He lost a few shots on the front nine and had a tough stretch in the middle, but then he found a way to gather himself and had a great back nine.'

Williams finished 8-under overall, thanks to a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18. He still had to withstand the onslaugh from Lingmerth, who shot a 7-under 64 on the day and moved all the way up from 10th to a first-place tie. Williams joins Joey Ramos (2000) and Mike Barnett (1983) as the only Husky freshmen to ever win a tournament.

If it wasn't for Williams' spectacular tournament, Richard Lee might have been the talk of the day for the Huskies. Lee carded a hole-in-one on No. 16 that set off a wild celebration with him and playing partner Darren Wallace. Lee used an 8-iron off the tee for the 154-yard par-3 and his shot took two bounces on the green and dropped right into the cup for his second-ever ace - his first in a tournament.

Lee would go on to birdie two of the next three holes and end the day with a 3-under 68. He was -4 for the tournament and finished in 10th place.

Junior Kevin Spooner turned in the next best round for Washington, carding a 1-under 70. He didn't factor in the overall standings as he couldn't recover from a +13 in the first round, but his score was a big boost for Washington in the final round.

'I'm really excited for Kevin,' said Thurmond. 'He was huge for us today. It's been a while since he played in one of these events and he really did a good job today when we needed him most.'

Nick Taylor shot a 1-over 72 and finished the tournament tied for 22nd. Wallace tied for 26th and Charlie Hughes was tied for 31st.

Washington combined to shoot a 3-under 352 on the day and ended up 9-under overall for the tournament. UCLA combined to shoot a 7-under for the day and ended up 10-under for the victory. Arkansas turned in the lowest round of the tournament with a 9-under 346 to tie Washington for second overall.

'We didn't play bad, and it's a little bit of trend,' said Thurmond. 'We've played really solid but just didn't quite win. UCLA and Arkansas had great days to pass us. Had they not done that we'd probably be excited.

'At the same time, I think we're a little frustrated because we haven't played our best in the final rounds. We haven't played bad, but we just haven't quite played the way we think we should in the final rounds. To lose by one to a conference rival - we don't find that exciting.'

3. Washington -9, (353-351-352-1056)

T1. Chris Williams, -8 (69-65-71-205)
10. Richard Lee, -4 (68-73-68-209)
T22. Nick Taylor, +1 (71-71-72-214)
T26. Darren Wallace, +2 (70-72-73-215)
T31. Charlie Hughes, +3 (75-70-71-216)
T75. Kevin Spooner, +16 (84-75-70-229)

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