As team leader, Williamson ’12 strives for individual success
By Kevin Cox
Published on Thursday, April 28, 2011
When Peter Williamson ’12 won his first Ivy League golf championship as a freshman, he proved to the New England golfing community that he was a force to be reckoned with. When he won his second League championship this past weekend — helping lead Dartmouth to a fourth-place team finish at the Championships — he cemented his position in the record books, becoming just the seventh golfer to win multiple League titles.
Williamson is the first to achieve the milestone since Princeton University’s Steve Dana won consecutive titles in 1993 and 1994.
As a result of his championship win, Williamson will advance to the 2011 NCAA Northeast Regional, where he will compete from May 18-21 for a spot in the NCAA National Championship.
Williamson, a three-time First Team All-Ivy selection, has played golf since he was a young child. He said his grandmother gave him a golf club when he was two-and-a-half years old, and he has loved the game since.
Born and raised in Hanover, Williamson attended Hanover High School, where he led the school’s golf team to four consecutive state championships. Williamson said that when it came time to begin the college application process, golf played a large role in his decision.
“It was a mix of getting denied by [other] schools and choosing my desired role on a golf team,” Williamson said of his decision to attend Dartmouth. “I wanted to help build a program.”
Dartmouth’s strong academics and his family ties to the College also contributed to Williamson’s decision.
“As a Hanover resident growing up, the family was always cheering for Dartmouth sports, so it was a logical transition in that sense,” he said. “I also wanted to focus on getting a degree to fall back on in case my professional golf plan didn’t pan out. You can’t go wrong with a Dartmouth degree.”
Playing collegiate golf is intensely competitive — Williamson said only one player on a high school team typically makes the jump to the next level.
“From my four years at Hanover High, I’m the only one to play college golf now,” he said. “And we won states all four years.”
To maintain elite skills in a sport that requires an unusual amount of precision, golf requires year-round practice. Williamson said he finds ways to practice even when the course is covered with snow during the winter.
“I play in the snow,” Williamson said. “Snow is very much like sand, so I see it as an advantage for bunker play. And I can always putt and chip indoors.”
The newly-renovated golfing facility at Leverone Field House “was great this past winter” for practicing purposes, Williamson said.
Teammate Owen Lynch ’13 said Williamson’s composure under pressure is a strong asset to his play, especially in high-stakes competition.
“Pete is the kind of player who sees an opportunity where someone else might not,” he said. “He’s a player because he doesn’t get too high or too low during the round.”
Although golf is largely an individual sport, Williamson said collegiate golf’s structure — in which players compete in tournaments as a team — brings a different perspective to the game.
“The camaraderie is awesome,” he said. “There isn’t a team out there having more fun than us.”
Williamson said he realizes the importance of performing individually while also supporting his teammates.
“I felt like I was prepared enough to win individually and really wanted to help give the team a shot at the title,” Williamson said of last weekend’s Championships. “Because the team was in fifth going into the final day, I knew I had to post a number and wait for the rest of the field to come in.”
Williamson’s consistently high performance serves as a “confidence builder” for the entire squad, Lynch said.
“College golf is about playing for the team, and it’s easier to get motivated when you’re playing well and you know Pete is too,” Lynch said.
Not only is Williamson a star player, but he has also assumed a leadership role on the team, according to several players interviewed by The Dartmouth.
“Pete leads by example,” teammate Drew Jankowski ’13 said. “He’s out on the practice green longer than anybody and he comes up with games and fun competitions to keep us out there when we might otherwise get tired.”
Williamson also competes extensively during Dartmouth’s off-season. He played in the U.S. Amateur Championship — the top annual competition for elite amateurs — last summer, and will play in several pro and amateur qualifying tournaments this coming summer.
Williamson said he will attempt to play in various pro tours after leaving Dartmouth. He added that he also has a strong interest in architecture.
“Perhaps even golf course architecture,” Williamson said. “In that case, I’d have to go back to school for graduate work.”