— Jay Williamson is often one of the unknown faces in the crowd of PGA Tour players, so the annual stop at TPC River Highlands provides at least a nice ego boost.
"I don't go to many places where people are saying, 'How's Williamson doing?'" he said Friday at the Travelers Championship. "It's nice to at least have you guys know my name."
Williamson will likely draw a crowd this weekend instead of casual interest. A 1989 Trinity graduate, he shot a 5-under-par 65 in the second round, lowering his total to 6-under 134 and leaving him tied for 17th, eight strokes behind leader Justin Rose.
It's the 10th time Williamson, 43, made the cut in 14 appearances. In 2007, he was 8 under heading into the weekend, eventually losing to Hunter Mahan in a playoff after holding a one-stroke lead heading into the 72nd hole.
Losing that chance at a first PGA Tour victory gave Williamson enough of a drive to want to continue, though he had to earn his tour card through qualifying school in 2008 and 2009. Williamson missed the cut at the Travelers in 2008, and tied for 51st last year, shooting par for the final 36 holes after entering the weekend at 5 under.
His only pro victories came at the 2007 Fort Smith Classic, a Nationwide Tour event, and the 1991 Kansas Open.
A native of St. Louis, Williamson is working for an insurance company back home and isn't particularly interested in prolonging a stagnating career.
But performances like a tie for eighth in the St. Jude Classic two weeks ago and Friday's round give him enough confidence to believe a revival could be on the horizon. Starting on the 10th, Williamson birdied his first three holes, bounced back from a bogey on the par-4 18th with a birdie on the par-4 first, and added a fifth birdie on the par-4 third for good measure.
He admitted to being surprised when, entering the scoring trailer, he signed for a 65.
"You know, my golf crowd keeps [wondering if] it would last six months or six years," Williamson said. "Obviously if I keep shooting 65 on Friday, it might last six more years. I don't know. It's a crazy game."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun