Chris Williams won four 4A boys golf state titles at Moscow High before becoming an All-American at Washington.
He has one season of college golf left.
Wanting to be a professional golfer, its always been the fuel for the fire, Williams, 21, said. In a year, I have a chance to make the dream come true.
Williams is in Northern Ireland this week, playing in the Palmer Cup. The Ryder Cup-style showdown between college players from the United States and Europe runs Thursday through Saturday.
Williams posted a 2-0-2 record last year to help the Americans win.
When he returns, his schedule includes the Sahalee Players Championship (hes the defending champion), U.S. Amateur Public Links, Childrens Hospital Invitational on the Web.com Tour, Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur. He hopes to cap a busy summer with an appearance in the Albertsons Boise Open in September.
Hell be a senior at Washington this fall, with chances to contend for NCAA individual and team championships.
Hes building a very strong foundation that hell be able to draw on when he turns professional, said Varnel Williams, Chris dad and a scratch golfer himself.
Williams began playing golf as a toddler and had a nice-looking swing by the age of 5. He decided pro golf was his future at 10 and since middle school the family has been making decisions with that in mind.
Partly with tips from the friends and family of PGA Tour veteran Kirk Triplett, who is from Pullman, Wash., Varnel took his son to lower-elevation Lewiston in the winters to keep his game sharp and Williams gave up baseball after eighth grade.
Williams older brother, Pete, played both sports. He also played college golf, at Idaho.
He didnt really succeed as well as I think he wanted to, and one reason why was baseball got in the way, Varnel said. The two swings got in the way.
Baseball wasnt a complete detriment to the younger Williams, though. Chris uses a rare 10-finger grip somewhat like hes holding a baseball bat and doesnt plan to change.
Its part of a golf game that is mostly homemade.
He pretty much sees the shot and feels it and then hits it, Varnel said. He really hasnt had formal lessons. Hes pretty natural. What gives him an advantage is if something goes wrong with his swing out on the course, he knows how to fix it.
Williams swing was built at the University of Idaho Golf Course. Often Williams would stay past dark working on his game staying out so late at times that his parents would be in bed when he returned.
He figures he has played thousands of rounds at the local course.
I love to stay out late and practice, he said. In the summertime, theres really no one out at that golf course. I kind of had the place to myself. I could do whatever I wanted. It was a huge bonus for me. Ive always loved that place and will call that place my home course for the rest of my life.
His work led to a Washington state junior title at 14 many North Idaho courses belong to the Washington association and the high school four-peat. He also helped Moscow win the 2009 team title.
The junior title caught the attention of Washingtons coach, who was more convinced than Williams that he could be a difference-maker in college.
I knew I could play, but I didnt think I was ready for top-notch college golf at the time, Williams said. And when I got here, we had an awesome team. I got to play with really good players. It made me realize I wasnt that far behind them. It kind of gave me the confidence I could play at this level.
He became the first Husky to win Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors and tied for ninth at the NCAA Championships in 2010, earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2011 and won an NCAA regional to claim All-America honors in 2012.
Last summer, he won the Sahalee event and Pacific Coast Amateur and qualified for the U.S. Open (he missed the cut by two shots).
Already this summer, he has bolstered his résumé by winning the Washington State Mens Amateur by a dominant 10 shots.
Burnout has never been a worry.
Since I was 10 years old, this is what Ive always wanted to do, he said. I love to play golf. I can play golf every single day. The fact I could potentially make a lot of money doing it, theres no reason for me not to.
Said Varnel: Hes really dedicated. Hes got a dream. Nobody outpractices him. He just keeps wanting to get better and better. Hes such a hard worker, I cant imagine him not making it.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat