Washington’s Chris Williams wins Ben Hogan Award as top collegiate golfer

Posted Monday, May. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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During his freshman season, Washington golfer Chris Williams watched an Internet feed of the Ben Hogan Award ceremony when a teammate received the honor.

As he listened to Nick Taylor offer his acceptance speech that night, Williams said: “I thought, ‘No chance that will ever be me.’”

Williams, now a senior, proved to be a better golfer than a prophet Monday night at Colonial Country Club. He received the 2013 Ben Hogan Award, given annually to the nation’s top college golfer as part of tournament week activities at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Williams, a semifinalist for last year’s honor, called it “surreal” that he edged TCU’s Julien Brun and California’s Michael Kim in voting by members of the selection committee based on his meager expectations in 2010, when Taylor received the award. Williams also received a sponsor’s exemption to compete in the 2014 Colonial.

“To win it is pretty much a dream,” said Williams, the top-ranked player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings and No. 2 golfer in the Scratch Players World Rankings. “It’s the Heisman Trophy of college golf, so it’s quite an honor … With the name behind it, Ben Hogan, it’s a big award.”

And it belongs, for the second time in four years, to a golfer from Washington. Williams, a native of Moscow, Idaho, who received the 2012 Mark H. McCormack Medal as the world’s top-ranked amateur, won the 2012 Western Amateur match play and stroke play titles. He also won the 2012 Washington State Amateur title and reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Amateur.

Although he missed two months of the fall season with mononucleosis, Williams rebounded to post seven top-10 finishes during the spring season and lead the Huskies to a berth in next week’s 2013 NCAA Championships.

By capturing the honor, Williams finished ahead of fellow finalists Kim, the 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year, and Brun, the first TCU golfer to be named a Hogan Award finalist. Brun, a sophomore and three-time winner in college events this season, also won a 2012 European Challenge Tour event while competing as an amateur against professionals.

Asked about being TCU’s first finalist for the Hogan Award, Brun said: “It’s great. Being here makes me feel at home. I hope this will help the TCU program and put TCU on the map, a little bit.”

Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @Jimmy_Burch

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