Armstrong has his way at East Tennessee Amateur

Joe Avento • Jul 8, 2013 at 7:20 AM

ELIZABETHTON — Lucas Armstrong rained supreme at the 19th annual Carter County Bank East Tennessee Amateur golf tournament.

On a soggy day that included plenty of rain and a pair of weather delays, Armstrong outlasted Bryan Sangid for a three-stroke victory Sunday at Elizabethton Golf Course.

“This means a lot,” Armstrong said. “I know all the good players that have won this tournament. It’s good to get my name out there with them.”

Armstrong closed with a three-under-par 69 that left him 13 under par for the three-round tournament. He was 16 under before making bogeys on his final three holes and missed tying the tournament record by one stroke.

“I knew I was probably close,” he said. “It would have been nice, but it don’t matter to me. I just enjoy coming out here and competing with everybody else. Winning’s just a plus to me.”

Sangid, who had opened with rounds of 64 and 70, shot 72.

“I had a great time,” said Sangid, who won this tournament in 2004. “Lucas played well. I like when people play well and deserve what they get. And Lucas definitely deserved it.”

It was fitting that each competitor was given a golf umbrella when they checked in on Friday. By Sunday afternoon, they were necessary as heavy rains pounded the players at times.

Armstrong, a Church Hill native who plays at Middle Tennessee State, began the day tied with Sangid for the lead at 10 under par. Armstrong pulled ahead when he eagled the par-five fifth hole after stuffing a 6-iron within eight feet of the hole. Sangid rolled in a 20-foot curling birdie putt on the same hole to only lose one stroke.

With the two weather delays — the entire field was pulled off the course twice — there was a distinct possibility that the round could be shortened to nine holes.

The turning point came when Sangid played the final three holes on the front nine in four over par. “I’d say the rain probably affected me a little bit,” Sangid said. “But I was still able to maintain concentration. I might have pressed a little bit on the seventh, eighth and ninth holes because I thought it might turn into a ninehole event.”

That never happened as the skies lightened toward the end of the tournament, allowing the event to finish.

After his eagle, Armstrong never wavered until bogeying the final three holes.

“I kind of stumbled on the way in, but it was alright,” said Armstrong, who finished third in the Sun Belt Conference tournament this year. “I knew I had a little bit of a cushion.”

Tommy Miller of Boone, N.C., finished third at seven under after a closing 68. Nick Cohen (68) was fourth at five under, followed by Cayman Ratliff (68), Tyler Lane (70) and Craig Reasor (74) at four under.

Carlson Cox, who began the day two shots off the lead and played in the final group, shot 77 and finished eighth, seven shots back.

Mike Poe won his sixth East Tennessee Amateur senior title — and fifth in a row — with a sixstroke victory over second-round leader Dwight Scott. Poe shot 69 to finish eight under par and claim his 68th amateur tournament victory.

“I’m gonna keep playing these things until I get to Sunday and have no chance,” said Poe, who erased a 10-shot deficit last year. “Then it’s time to do something else.”

Scott began the day seven under par with a two-stroke lead. Poe birdied the third, fifth and seventh holes to seize control. Scott shot 77.

“Today I made some putts early on and he missed some,” Poe said. “That’s just the way the game is. Everybody plays pretty good. It just comes down to who makes those 6-, 8-footers.”

The next event on the Tri-Cities Amateur Tour is the Tri-Cities Amateur Championship, set for next weekend at the Country Club of Bristol.

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