Sugar Grove, Illinois (August 5, 2015) … About halfway through a second consecutive subpar round at Rich Harvest Farms on Wednesday, Dawson Armstrong shifted his focus from his own fate at the 2015 Western Amateur to that of his playing partner — highly-touted, Florida commit Sam Horsfield, who was on the verge of missing Wednesday’s 36-hole cut.
Armstrong, a 19-year-old sophomore at Lipscomb University, rooted loudly for Horsfield, high-fiving him after several crucial putts, including the successful birdie attempt on No. 18 that ensured Horsfield would see at least 36 more holes of stroke play at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.
“After the 11th hole, I saw that I was tied for the lead, and I knew I just wanted to help encourage him as much as I could,” said Armstrong, who leads the 2015 Western Amateur after shooting 11-under 133 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Coming into the week, the 2015 Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year had one goal, and it had nothing to do with chipping, putting or his golf swing.
“Have fun,” Armstrong said with a smile. “That’s my main thing. This week, I just wanted to take it all in and keep having fun and keep playing small golf. There’s no reason to get angry. Shoot, there’s nothing wrong with this place. I’m not going to beat myself up for making a bogey or two.”
Trailing Armstrong by two strokes is Taylor Funk of Ponte Vedra, Florida, who strung together rounds of 4-under 68 and 5-under 67, and 2015 All-Big Ten selection Charlie Danielson of Osceola, Wisconsin, who carded a 7-under par 65 during the second round Wednesday.
On a day when Danielson and four other players bested the previous course record of 67, it was the round shot by recent Pacific Coast Amateur champion and Oregon Duck Aaron Wise that had everyone talking.
Wise, 19, of Lake Elsinore, California, bettered his opening round score of 76 by 12 strokes and finished 8-under 64 on the day. The score is the new competitive course record at Rich Harvest Farms.
“I got off to a hot start and was able to keep the ball in the fairways, which is a big deal out here,” Wise said. “This isn’t a course that you necessarily have to learn. The course is out there in front of you … but you’ve got to hit it straight. The fescue comes in quick and there’s trees, too, that can block you out. Hitting it straight is a big key for me this week.”
The record-breaking round helped propel Wise from 96th to 9th place going into the final 36 holes of stroke play Thursday.
Following a cut Wednesday night to the low 44 and ties, some of amateur golf’s biggest names were on the outside looking in, including defending Western Amateur champion Beau Hossler of Mission Viejo, California.
“Very disappointed to miss the cut at the Western Amateur, but always an honor to play in the Western Golf Association’s event,” Hossler tweeted after the round.
Others who missed the cut Wednesday included 2014 Western Amateur medalist Doug Ghim, 2015 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Nick Hardy, 2015 SEC Player of the Year Hunter Stewart and 2015 Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman of the Year award recipient Scottie Scheffler.
Players will compete in another 36 holes of stroke play Thursday to determine who will advance to match play Friday.
— Patrick Donohue