SUGAR GROVE, Illinois – In a battle of two of the top sophomores in NCAA Division I men’s golf, Lipscomb’s Dawson Armstrong and Oregon’s Aaron Wise dueled to sudden death on Saturday afternoon in the match-play finals of the 113th Western Amateur Championship at Rich Harvest Farms where Armstrong stroked an eagle on the 20th hole of the match to claim the championship.
“It’s been a long, hectic, crazy week but I’m honored and blessed,” said Armstrong. “The last tournament that I had a chance to do this was the Dogwood Invitational and I said then that all of the glory goes to the Father and there’s no exception for this tournament. All the glory goes to God.
“This is one of the best, if not the best tournament that I’ve ever played in. This is a dream of a golf course and is amazing.”
The duo went back and forth over the final 18 holes of the prestigious event that includes past winners Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ben Crenshaw among others. After falling behind early, Armstrong took the lead at the turn as Wise bogeyed nine to put Armstrong up one.
Wise then birdied 10 to draw back even and retook the lead with his second-straight birdie on 11. Things looked great for Wise to take the title in regulation play as Armstrong bogeyed 17 to give the Oregon Duck the lead with one hole to play. A clutch birdie on 18 by Armstrong would send the match back to the first hole.
The duo both sank par on hole No. 1 in the sudden death playoff before Armstrong chipped in from the bunker on the second hole to claim the championship.
Armstrong advanced to the finals earlier in the day by upsetting Alabama’s Robby Shelton, a 2-time All-American and the fifth-ranked player in NCAA Division I golf by GolfStat.com, 2 and 1 to advance to the finals against Wise. Armstrong broke the match open by sinking three-straight birdies including a 20-footer on 14 and a chip in on 13.
The rising sophomore advanced to the final four on Saturday via a pair of big wins on Friday in the Western. Armstrong opened the day with a 5 and 4 victory over Aussie Harrison Endycott, the 127th ranked amateur in the world. He then upset Oklahoma State All-American Jordan Niebrugge, who was fresh off winning the silver medal at the Open Championship as the low amateur with a sixth-place finish, 3 and 1 on Friday afternoon to make the final four.
Armstrong made it to the match play finals behind strong play earlier in the week that saw him lead the event after the first two rounds before tying for third behind Shelton.