Calgary golfer making name for himself

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:55 AM ET

CALGARY - Calgary’s Matt Williams is quickly making a name for himself in international golf circles.

A relative unknown just a few months ago, the 16-year-old regular at Pinebrook Golf & Country Club was the only Canadian invited to tee it up at the Junior PLAYERS Championship this week at world-famous TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

The American Junior Golf Association’s invite-only event will feature 78 of the best junior golfers from around the globe.

“It shows that all my hard work is paying off,” Williams said. “I remember looking at the AJGA tour a couple of years ago, almost as if it was a dream to one day be that good as a junior. That’s what I’ve been working toward — playing in these elite junior events — so it’s a nice little reward for the work I’ve put in. It would mean a lot to me to be able to pull through and have a good performance.”

Williams, who should be a shoo-in to be named to Golf Canada’s developmental squad in the fall, has proven he belongs on the same fairways and greens as other rising stars of the sport.

He topped an impressive field at the CN Future Links Ontario Championship in May and romped to a six-shot victory at the Frank Lindsay Alberta Junior Boys Championship in July.

It won’t go on his resumé as a win, but he also finished fourth at the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships at Torrey Pines, a result that undoubtedly raised some eyebrows with the AJGA event planners.

“At the beginning of the year, if you would’ve given me one of those finishes,

I would have happily taken it,” Williams said.

“But to have three really solid tournaments this year and to play really steady throughout the whole season, it’s quite surreal, really. I just want to continue to improve. Don’t sit back now — I’ve got a lot going for me and lots ahead of me.”

A testament to his work ethic, Williams skipped the city junior championship last week at his home course to prepare for the Junior PLAYERS. He even received a scouting report on the Stadium Course — the Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass will split hosting duties — from Calgary’s Stephen Ames, whose biggest PGA Tour triumph came at the 2006 PLAYERS Championship.

“I’ve known (Ames) for a while, and I’ve always been impressed by his feat of winning the PLAYERS,” Williams said.

“I’m going down there to try out the Junior PLAYERS. To have a success of my own would be nice.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNGilbertson


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