Chris Williams fires course record 61 for ATB Financial Classic lead

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(August 1, 2015 – Cochrane, Alta.) – Moscow, Idaho’s Chris Williams fired a course record 9-under 61 on Saturday at The Links of GlenEagles to take the 54-hole lead at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s ATB Financial Classic.

The former No. 1-ranked amateur and 2013 Ben Hogan Award winner at the University of Washington will take a one stroke advantage over Tucson, Arizona’s Jonathan Khan intoSunday’s final round, sitting at 15-under through three rounds.

“Every time you play a course you get more comfortable. I just had a good vibe feeling after yesterday. I finished really well on the back nine. I knew there were a lot of birdies out there and hit a lot of good shots and made a lot of good putts,” said Williams, who shot 29 on the front including a hole-in-one from 144 yards at the fifth hole.

Williams, a second year Mackenzie Tour player with eight top-25s in 16 career starts, flirted with 59 after going 6-under for his first seven holes and 8-under for his first 14.

“Oh yeah. Definitely,” said Williams of whether golf’s magic number was on his mind. The 24-year old missed a short birdie putt on the 17th and an eagle putt of about 20 feet on the 18ththat might have secured the sub-60 score. “I thought about it all day. I made the turn in 29 and knew the back nine isn’t tough and I could make some birdies.”

With a chance for his first Mackenzie Tour win on Sunday, the former University of Washington Husky will look to follow in the footsteps of The Players Cup champion C.T. Pan and Syncrude Boreal Open presented by AECON winner Kevin Spooner as former Huskies to win on Tour this season.

“It was just kind of flowing,” said Williams of his round, adding that it was one of the best he could recall of his already strong young career. “This course was playing tough today. The greens are firming up and it was windy. It was a great round, and I can’t take anything bad away from it.”

Khan, who tied the previous course record at GlenEagles with a 62 on Friday, was one back after a 66, with Athens, Georgia’s Mookie DeMoss and France’s Julien Brun two further behind at 13-under. Sherwood Park, Alberta’s Danny Sahl, who caddies for Mike Weir on the PGA TOUR, shot his second 64 of the week to sit three back.

Third Round Leaderboard – (Bold denotes Canadian)
1.           Chris Williams                          61 (-15)
2.           Jonathan Khan                        66 (-14)
T3.        Mookie DeMoss                        64 (-13)
T3.        Julien Brun                                67 (-13)
5.           Danny Sahl                               64 (-12)

 

NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW

195: Chris Williams’ 54-hole total, the lowest on the Mackenzie Tour this season.

15: Players within five shots of the lead through 54 holes.

8: Canadians in the top-25 through 54 holes.

QUOTABLES:

“It was a solid round. I got off to a solid start and birdied the first couple of holes. This is my first event up here in Canada, so it’s the best so far. Hopefully I get to stick around and keep playing up here.” – Mookie DeMoss, who has conditional status on the Mackenzie Tour and drew into his first event of the season this week.

“He’s supported me and it’s nice to hear from him after me round. He’s been talking to me a little bit, and just saying ‘great round, keep it up and do the maintenance on the swing,’ all the little things like that.” – Danny Sahl on post-round text message of encouragement from boss Mike Weir. Sahl caddies for Weir on the PGA TOUR.

“I’m pretty upset with him, because he broke the course record and I thought I had it at least tied. At least I got a day of a course record.” – Jonathan Khan, whose course record-tying 62 was broken by Chris Williams.

Notes:

  • Weather: 28 degrees Celsius. Sunny. Winds 17 km/h.
  • Chris Williams’ 61 is the lowest round on the Mackenzie Tour this season, besting five rounds of 62.
  • Williams’ 6-under 29 on the front nine was the third sub-30 score on the front nine this week and the sixth in total this season.
  • Williams’ 61 is the lowest round of his Mackenzie Tour career.
  • Williams resume as a former World No. 1 amateur and Ben Hogan Award winner at the University of Washington is matched by Mackenzie Tour alumni Nick Taylor, who went on to win the PGA TOUR’s Sanderson Farms Championship this season.

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