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October 27. 2012 11:09PM

Hanover golfer Williamson keeps his options open for 2013

Peter Williamson left the Florida Panhandle Friday afternoon disappointed after coming up short in his maiden bid for a PGA Tour card.

A 22-year-old Hanover golfer who starred at Dartmouth College, Williamson shot 69-68-67-70 in the first stage of the 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, better known as Q-School. But despite posting four rounds of par or better at Pensacola (Fla.) Country Club, Williamson failed to advance to the second stage.

With a 6-under-par total, the three-time Ivy League golf champion finished tied for 25th place, 10 strokes behind tournament medalist Chris DeForest of Purcellville, Va. Eighteen players who shot 10-under par or better advanced to one of six second-stage qualifiers scheduled for mid-November.

After three rounds Williamson was only one stroke off the qualifying pace, but a lackluster front nine Friday dimmed his prospects. He made up for a bogey at No. 2 with a birdie at No. 5, but consecutive bogeys at Nos. 7 and 8 left him 2-over par at the turn.

Williamson rebounded with a birdie at No. 10 and an eagle at the par-5 12th but ran out of magic, finishing with five pars and a bogey at No. 15.

“I just couldn’t figure out the greens all week,” Williamson said. “I was hoping it would come around (Friday), but I got off to a bad start and tried to press late, and it just wasn’t there.”

Having failed to earn 2013 playing privileges on the PGA Tour or its developmental circuit, the Web.com Tour, Williamson is weighing his options for next season. Exempt into the PGA Tour’s 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational at Orlando’s Bay Hill Club by virtue of his July victory at the Southern Amateur — an invitation contingent on its recipient competing as an amateur — Williamson entered Q-School as an amateur to preserve the option of making his tour debut at Bay Hill if he didn’t earn a card.

Williamson is also one of 16 amateur players who has been invited to participate in a December practice session for the 2013 Walker Cup, an invitation that suggests he is a candidate for selection to the 10-man team of U.S. amateurs that will face a squad of counterparts from Great Britain and Ireland in the biennial competition. The 2013 Walker Cup is scheduled for Sept. 7-8 at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.

Despite potential opportunities that await him as an amateur, Williamson has also been seeking sponsor exemptions into professional events and hasn’t closed the door on playing for pay in 2013.

“If I could get a good enough number of starts next year and put together a pretty good schedule, then (turning pro) would make sense,” he said. “We’ll still keep the options open and see what happens from here.”

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Mike Cullity may be reached at mcullity@unionleader.com.

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