PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Looking to secure a place to play after his golfing days at Lipscomb are over, Dawson Armstrong did just that Friday by winning the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament as an amateur at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley Course.
The victory fully exempts Armstrong for the entire 2018 Mackenzie Tour season, which consists of 14 stops across Canada from June through mid-September.
Armstrong capped off a furious charge Friday with a -6, 66 to come from behind on the final day to win the qualifier with a four-round total of -11, 277. He finished one stroke ahead of fellow Americans Justin Doeden and Christopher Hickman with rounds of 69-70-72-66.
“I hit it way too well to leave that many shots out there,” Armstrong said. “I could go on and on about things I could have done differently, but I’m very happy with today. I’d give it a B-plus overall.”
Opening the day in a tie for 5th, the Brentwood, Tennessee native got off to a good start on the final 18 holes with birdies on No. 1 and No. 5. He then buried a 40-foot putt for birdie on the ninth to send him out with a -3, 33 on the front.
After writing down pars on the first six hole of the back nine, Armstrong birdied the par-5, 16th to move to 4-under on the day and 9-under for the event. Then came his shot of the day.
Trailing by one stroke with two to play, Armstrong landed four yards off the green on his approach shot at the par-5, 17th. Electing to putt the ball rather than use a wedge, he drained it from 35-feet to cement the victory.
“I had those two big putts go in, one on No. 9 and one on No. 17,” Armstrong said. “If it weren’t for those putts, I would have shot 68. They were big.”
Armstrong will wait and see how his Bisons fare with the NCAA Regionals and Championship just around the corner before determining when to drop his amateur status and turn pro.
Joining Armstrong in the qualifying event was his senior Lipscomb teammate Eric Ansett.
After a forgettable opening round that saw him card seven bogeys and one double bogey, Ansett bounced back to shoot just one over par the rest of the weekend with a pair of 73s in rounds two and three before going 1-under par in the final round with a 71.
Ansett wrapped up play in a tie for 75th.
- The tournament was the second of five qualifiers for the Mackenzie Tour this season. It featured 132 players in the field.
- Armstrong entered the event as the No. 28 amateur golfer in the world.
- His 66 matched the low score of the day in the final round.
- He carded 14 birdies and two eagles during the 72-hole event. His scorecard also included five bogeys and a double bogey.
- With his best round of the week on Friday (71), Ansett moved up the leaderboard nine spots.
- The win is just another notch in Armstrong’s legendary career. Not only has he won eight tournaments in his time as a Bison, he also won the prestigious Western Amateur Championship and the Dogwood Invitational in 2015.
- Ansett recorded 13 birdies, 15 bogeys and three double bogeys for the week.
- Friday’s final round saw a high temp of 74 degrees with winds at 7-12 mph. A front moved through the area and forced rainfall off and on all afternoon.
HOW THE MACKENZIE TOUR WORKS
The Mackenzie Tour provides players with the opportunity to make the first step on the path to the PGA TOUR by rewarding high finishers on the Order of Merit with steps toward and status on the Web.com Tour. The Order of Merit winner following the 2018 season will be fully exempt on the 2019 Web.com Tour, while finishers 2-5 earn conditional status and an exemption into the Final Stage of Q-School. Finishers 6-10 also earn an exemption directly into Final Stage, while players in the 11th through 20th spots earn exemptions through Second Stage.
The path has already been utilized by 20 players who have gone on to earn PGA TOUR cards since 2013, highlighted by PGA TOUR winners Nick Taylor, Tony Finau and Mackenzie Hughes. Since the Tour’s inception, 166 alumni have earned Web.com Tour status, including 72 competing there for the 2018 season.
Mackenzie Tour alums to have earned cards in Florida include PGA TOUR member Talor Gooch (2015), Web.com Tour winners Ben Taylor (2016) and Ryan Brehm (2014) and The Five members Robby Shelton (2017) and Dan McCarthy (2014).