Coming of Age

Doug Williams put in a classy display at Fanling last month to win the Munsingwear Hong Kong Seniors Amateur Close Championship at his first attempt

Williams, who became eligible for the tournament after turning 55 in February, carded a blemish-free 70 in the closing round to finish nine shots clear of the field and will surely be rewarded with a place in the Hong Kong side for November's Asia-Pacific Senior Amateur Championship. The American was consistency personified on the final day, making 17 pars and a solitary birdie over an at-times rain-swept Old Course.

"I’m feeling my age right now," quipped Williams, a member of the Hong Kong Golf Club, who opened up with rounds of 75 and 72 . "It was a hard slog in the rain and I was out of breath on nearly every shot."

Two other Fanling members, Tony Taylor and three-time Seniors Close champion Joe Pethes, finished in a share of second, with defending champion William Chung a further 10 shots back in fourth.

Williams, whose fine amateur career to date includes a win at the 1982 Spanish Amateur Championship, was quick to point out the advantage that he and other Hong Kong Golf Club members had at this year’s event.

"The Old Course is tricky, so knowing its nuances helped for sure," he said.

With his victory, Williams becomes the first player to have won both the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship (a feat he achieved in 2006) and its senior equivalent, which was introduced in 2003.

"It was a pretty unspectacular round to be honest," said Williams of his closing one-under-par effort. "But my game has been good recently and while I didn’t make many putts, I hit a lot of solid shots and hit a lot of fairways. If you’re able to keep putting it in play you’re going to score better."

His convincing performance was made all the more remarkable after overcoming sciatic nerve pain on the eve of the championship.

"I couldn’t sleep and I could barely walk but I’m fine now," Williams explained. "As you age you have to take care, you have to be a bit more careful. Golf is fun for me at the moment and keeping injury free is the goal."


Click here to see the published article.