Williams competing for individual honors
HUNTINGTON -- A state championship for the Winfield golf team is out of the question. Medalist honors in the state tournament are still on the table for Winfield's Chris Williams.
The 36-hole West Virginia High School Golf Tournament begins Tuesday on the Jones Course at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling. Williams, who had a banner spring and summer, finds himself among the list of contenders for top individual honors in Class AAA.
The Generals missed out qualifying their team when they finished third behind Cabell Midland and Huntington High in the Region IV Tournament last week at Sleepy Hollow Golf Club in Hurricane.
"I've got mixed feelings," Williams said. "I'm happy to be going and to still be able to play for the individual title. I just wish my team was there."
The Class AAA field offers many challengers. Joining Williams are Trent McPherson and Cale Wheeler from Region I champion University; Will Evans from Region III winner George Washington; Seth Kinker from Region IV champion Cabell Midland; Thadd Obecny II and Cole Hand from two-state defending champion Wheeling Park; and Craig Buchanan of Oak Hill. Buchanan shot 64 to win medalist in the Region III Tournament at Lewisburg Elks.
"I'm not focused on any one player," Williams said. "I have to beat the course and see what happens."
Players in all three classes got a look at the course Monday.
"You've got to put the ball in the fairway," Williams said. "I've putted pretty good of late and that's important on those greens."
The highlight to date for Williams was his showing in the AJGA's Webb Simpson Junior Championship on Aug. 16 in Browns Summit, N.C. He shot 64-68-69 on the par-72 Players Course at Bryan Park Golf and Conference Center for a 15-under-par 201 to earn his first AJGA title.
"I shot 30 on the front nine in the first round and couldn't do anything wrong," Williams said.
In addition, Williams was low junior at both the West Virginia Open and West Virginia Amateur and runner-up at the West Virginia Junior Amateur. He leads the 2012 WVGA Junior Player of the Year race by a wide margin. During the high school season, Williams was medalist in the Mountain State Athletic Conference Tournament with a 1-under 69 thanks to birdies on the final five holes at Berry Hills Country Club in Charleston. He shared medalist honors at the regional with Hurricane's Alex Hambel.
"I played well and the confidence carried over," Williams said. "You win an AJGA event and that definitely gives you confidence you can play at that level."
College coaches are tracking Williams. Many call, but Williams gave a commitment to Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers are No. 19 in the latest Golfstat rankings.
"The Myrtle Beach area, good coaches, good courses, travel and tournaments," Williams said. "It's all there."
Going out for Cabell Midland are Kinker, Jacob Beahrs, Mark Wilcox and Hutton Light. Huntington High's starting four are Fisher Cross, Thomas Frazier, Chase Toppins and Alec Atha. University, George Washington and Cabell Midland players are grouped together for the first round. Huntington High is with Wheeling Park, Elkins and Shady Spring.