Harding sophomore wins playoff, lands spot in U.S. Amateur

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published June 27, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated June 26, 2013 at 9:55 a.m.
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Harding sophomore Alex Williamson qualified for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, to be held July 15-20 at the Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Va., by competing in a five-person playoff tournament June 18 at Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston.

— Alex Williamson, an upcoming sophomore at Harding University, is making his way to the top.

Williamson won a five-person playoff June 18 at Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston, helping him qualify for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, to be held July 15-20 at the Laurel Hill Golf Club in Lorton, Va..

Williamson, who is a native of Florida, said he is excited about competing in the prestigious golf championship.

“When I found out I qualified, I was excited and extremely tired,” Williamson said. “It was like 97 degrees, and Houston is really humid.”

To qualify for the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, a golfer has to have a handicap index limit of 4.4, and there is no age limit, according to the United States Golf Association.

Williamson said he golfed from 7:40 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. the day of the qualifying round.

“I found out at 8:20 [p.m.] that I qualified,” Williamson said. “I was nervous because you don’t know if you’re waiting for nothing.”

He qualified for the championship with a 142 total score from the two-day tournament.

Although he’s only been golfing at the collegiate level for one year, Williamson said, he looks forward to continuing with his golfing career throughout college.

“My favorite part of golfing [at Harding] is traveling with my teammates,” Williamson said. “It’s fun to hang out with them.”

Harding University’s golf coach, Dustin Howell, said he is proud of Williamson and the way he’s played golf during his freshman year.

“He really carried the team this year,” Howell said. “On our team, he just missed out by .2 of being the low stroke of the team.”

For Williamson to make it to the U.S. Amateur, Howell said, is quite the accomplishment.

“It’s exceptional to have that happen,” Howell said. “He’s been a fantastic team member. He’s dedicated to get out there and play well every time.”

According to the USGA, if Williamson wins the U.S. Amateur, he will be awarded a gold medal and the James D. Standish Jr. Cup for 2013.

Williamson said he looks forward to competing in the tournament in Virginia.

“I’m excited to see how I compare to those players,” Williamson said. “There are some world-class amateurs.”

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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