Williamson prevails in amateur competition
By Daniel Bornstein, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, July 27, 2012
Peter Williamson ’12 won the Southern Amateur Championship in Little Rock, Ark., over the weekend, defeating Bobby Wyatt, the world’s number one amateur golfer, and adding yet another highlight to his golf career. He beat Wyatt — a rising junior at the University of Alabama — in a playoff round to capture the title.
The victory will allow Williamson to compete in the March 2013 PGA Tournament at Bay Hill in Orlando, Fla., which will be hosted by golf legend Arnold Palmer. He must remain an amateur player until the tournament to be elegible to play.
Williamson’s future in golf will largely be determined by his performance at the U.S. Amateur Championship in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., next month, Alex Kirk, current women’s golf coach and former PGA golf professional at the Hanover Country Club, said. If he makes it to the final round, he will likely have the chance to play in other prestigious professional tournaments, and he would not be permitted to go onto the pro tour until after those events. Williamson said he was originally planning to join the pro tour this fall, but now may choose to defer in order to play at Bay Hill and in the other tournaments.
It is only a matter of when — not if — Williamson will play as a professional.
Earlier this month, Williamson won the North and South Amateur Golf Tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., which he said are the most significant titles of his amateur career. Williamson’s coaches praised his outstanding college golf career and said they believe he will find great success in the world of professional golf.
“[Williamson] came here with a mission to make a mark in the Ivy League,” Kirk said. “Being a three-time Ivy League Player of the Year, and with Dartmouth losing the Ivy Championship in a playoff this year, his mission was complete.”
Men’s golf coach Rich Parker said that Williamson’s success at Dartmouth is unprecedented and that he will be in the national spotlight for many years to come.
“There’s never been a guy like him in the Ivy League,” Parker said. “When he plays bad, he hits a 73. When he plays good, he hits 67, and that’s a great problem to have when you’re going to hit 73 on a bad day.”
Parker and Kirk lauded Williamson’s sportsmanlike conduct, knowledge of the game and respect for opponents on the course.
Although college golf teams in the Northeast have never quite been at the same level as southern or western teams — which benefit from the ability to compete year-round because of warmer weather — the teams in the Northeast recently become more competitive, according to Williamson.
“It’s great to see because there are a bunch of fantastic players from the Northeast,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time before we see a full team of guys that can consistently compete at the national level. Dartmouth golf has a positive future.”
Williamson has played a key role in advancing the future of Dartmouth’s golf program, Kirk said. Williamson has been a role model for prospective student-athletes and has demonstrated that they can consistently work on improving their game despite the cold Hanover winters.
“Peter’s work ethic and his passion to compete and get better totally raised the level of the team,” Kirk said. “He was a key component of raising expectations of the team, getting other guys out there to practice and play more.”
Prior to coming to Dartmouth, Williamson was a member of the Hanover High School golf team. The team won the state championship in each of his four years as a member. He won the state individual title his senior year and was selected as a first-team all-state player all four years.
No one predicted that Williamson would emerge as the superstar that he has become, Parker said. Williamson was barely on the radar of Ivy League coaches when he was deciding where to apply to college.
Yesterday, the Golf Coaches Association of America announced that Williamson has been named a Division I Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar. Williamson is also a three-time Academic All-Ivy selection.