NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Before the highly-touted newcomer even set foot on campus, Dawson Armstrong was expected to lead the Lipscomb men’s golf program to new heights. That was a challenge the freshman took on with open arms and has begun his career in Purple and Gold by becoming the first Bison to earn an entry into the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship which begins on Thursday at regional sites around the country.
“I feel like I’m ready,” said Armstrong. “I’m excited but I’m ready to get out there and play. It’s been three and a half weeks since the A-Sun finals. I had a good idea that I was going to make it to regionals, so that three-week span I was really working toward making sure my game is at its best.
“I feel like how I’ve practiced and being very intentional with everything has helped me prepare very well for this. I don’t feel nervous. I feel well prepared and rested and my mind is very focused right now.”
After finishing as the Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year and a first-team all-league selection, Armstrong was one of 45 individuals selected from the rosters around the nation that failed to make it to regional play. 10 of those individuals including Armstrong and 13 teams will compete in the Chapel Hill, North Carolina regional hosted by the University of North Carolina.
“Having two teams at the Liberty tournament and two teams at the conference tournament be in the top-25 was very helpful to see what good players do and how they perform,” said Armstrong. “It was a bit different than some of the teams that are top-100 teams. It was neat for me to observe them and see that they aren’t that much further ahead.”
Ranked the No. 10 freshman in the nation by Golfstat.com, Armstrong looks to build on a successful 2014-15 campaign that saw him earn medalist honors in the Kenny Perry Invitational to go along with four, top-5 finishes and six, top-10’s as a rookie.
“I think Dawson is more prepared mentally, swing wise, rest wise and confidence wise than for any golf tournament he’s ever played in,” said Lipscomb head men’s golf coach Will Brewer. “Does that mean he will go out and shoot 55 all three rounds? I hope, so but the likelihood of everything coming together all three rounds is very unusual.
“He’s going to have some difficult situations and some challenges. It always happens in golf but I think he’s more prepared to handle those than he’s ever been. If he stays patient and focused and makes his putts, he has just as good of a chance to win this tournament than anyone in the field. That’s a tall order but he has the ability not to just win the region but the national championship.”
This week’s regional will feature 18 holes of action on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the University of North Carolina Finley Golf Course. The Tom Fazio designed course will play a par-72, 7,242 yards.
Live scoring for the event will be available at http://golfstatresults.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=participants&tid=7938