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Eagles Williams wins Sharkey Collegiate golf tournament
Georgia Southern senior Mason Williams hugs teammate and fellow senior Ben Carr after claiming individual medalist honors at the Sharkey Individual Intercollegiate Monday at the Georgia Southern golf course. - photo by JOSH AUBREY

It seems only appropriate that a golf tournament honoring someone from Scotland should be played in cold, wet weather. Sunday and Monday Georgia Southern held their annual Thomas Sharkey Individual Collegiate and Eagle senior Mason Williams ran away with the title firing an impressive 66 on Monday to finish -5 for the 54-hole event, eight strokes better than his nearest competition.

“It was really Sharkey weather out here the last two days,” said Willaims. “We really appreciate his legacy here and what his family has done and it means so much to win this tournament. It was tough conditions and I really had to focus out there, but it has been a fun couple days.”

Williams played 54 holes of consistent golf including finishing day one at +1 in truly adverse conditions with rain, wind and temperatures hovering around 40 degrees all day. The wind and cold continued Sunday but it didn’t seem to affect Williams who blistered the front nine firing a 5 under 31 and then shot a 35 on the back nine.

“Both of Mason’s rounds yesterday were solid especially in those conditions,” said Eagle coach Carter Collins. “He came out here this morning with a two-stroke lead and shot a 66 which is extremely impressive. One of the best rounds I have seen in a long time and I am very proud for him.”

Following his only bogey of the day on the difficult 17th, Williams's tee shot on 18 found the left fairway bunker. Wanting to end things on a positive note Willaims was able to hit a nice shot to the top right side of the elevated green leaving himself a downhill 32-foot putt for birdie. His putt continued to pick up speed and slammed into the cup as the crowd that had assembled around the 18th green erupted with applause.

“That putt on 18 was really carrying a lot of speed,” said Williams. “I am really glad it hit the hole and went in. It was a fun day and I felt I really played some good golf”

Mason Williams hits out of the fairway bunker on 18 in the final round Monday

After finishing the round Williams called his parents to give them the good news. The call left Williams emotional as they were unable to be there to see his accomplishment as they live in West Virginia.

“I just broke down a little and cried after talking to my mom,” said Williams. “I just miss them so much and they have been through a lot with me. I just really appreciate all they do for me.”

The tournament was named for former Eagle Thomas Sharkey who lost his life in a tragic fire in Scotland prior to his junior season in 2011. This year marked the fourth season of the event which is unique in that it is an individual contest instead of a traditional team event the Eagles play most of the season.

“It is a special week for our team and our program to compete in a tournament named after Thomas,” said Collins. “The weather was as if he placed it here himself. It forces you to grind and compete which is something he would encourage us to do. We played really well ad if you can compete in these kinds of conditions, you can compete anywhere.”

Georgia Southern had four players in the top 12 as Freshmen Brantley Baker and Jack Boltja tied for seventh and Hogan Ingram tied for 12th. The Eagles are now set to embark on the meat of their schedule with big tournament stops coming next week at the Gator Invitational in Gainesville FL followed by the Colleton River Collegiate and then the Schenkel back in Statesboro March 18-20. 

“I am glad the guys got some tournament experience as we hit the ground running next week,” said Collins. “We have a great schedule ahead of us and a lot of opportunities. I am very excited about where we are and even more excited where we will be.”