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Armstrong pulls away for Ridgefields title

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Jul 16, 2018 at 12:18 AM

KINGSPORT — One small putt for birdie, one giant win for Lucas Armstrong.

Armstrong hit a short putt on hole No. 18 to complete his final round of 5-under-par 67 to win the 69th annual Ridgefields Invitational golf tournament Sunday. His three-day total was a 9-under 207, giving him a nine-stroke win.

For Armstrong, a former Volunteer High School standout, the Ridgefields title was No. 1 on his wish list.

"I had come here forever watching my dad play in the invitational. It's really cool to win now that I'm older," Armstrong said. "I have always liked playing here and I enjoy the course. It's good to finally get a win here."

With a strong effort off the tee and putting the ball in good positions on his approach shots, Armstrong was able to pull away from his nearest competition.

"I've been playing well," he said. "I've been hitting my driver good and my irons good. I made more putts today and ended 5 under. I still felt like I left a couple more out there."

Two-time Ridgefields champion Carlson Cox, another Volunteer alum who later played at Memphis, shot a 3-over 75 in the final round and finished tied for second at 216. Eddie Karst, a 2017 Dobyns-Bennett alum and another former Ridgefields champion, had a final-round 71 to join him at 216.

Cox lost ground on the final few holes after playing aggressively to try to keep up with Armstrong.

"You can't just sit back and make pars," Cox said. "He's not missing any shots and hitting everything down the middle. He had a birdie putt on about every hole. So you have to try to put the pressure on him. But I hit one out on 9 and missed a few and he pulled away."

Karst, who was tied with Cox for the lead after the first round, finished strong after falling off with a second-round 75. He was pleased with his final-round effort, although his first nine was better than the back nine.

"I'm hitting my driver well right now, really far and straight," Karst said. "I had pretty good looks on all the holes on the front. I was 5 under on the front. I eagled 4 and birdied after that. I just couldn't keep it going on the back."

Nashville's John Tyminski, who went into the final round tied with Cox and trailing Armstrong by just one stroke, shot a 76 and finished fourth at 1-over 217. Ken Miller rounded out the top five with a 225 total.

SENIORS ACTION

Tim Dinwiddie entered the day with back-to-back rounds of 69 for a three-stroke lead over defending champion Mark Halvorsen in the seniors division. Dinwiddie played it safe with a final-round 1-over 73 to take home the title.

His goal on the final day was to keep the ball down the middle and make pars. Halvorsen made a run at him, getting just 6 feet from the hole for an eagle putt on the No. 16 green. But he missed the short putt and the seniors title belonged to Dinwiddie with a three-day 5-under 211.

"I just tried make pars and force them to make birdies come and get me," Dinwiddie said. "They made runs throughout the day, but they kind of backed off and I made pars. I didn't do anything spectacular. I just tried to hold it in the road."

Halvorsen, who ended at even par for the day and at 213 for the tournament, felt a made putt on No. 16 could have added more drama over the final couple of holes.

"I had a really good look at it for eagle," he said. "I thought I read it right and hit it right where I wanted it and the ball didn't move. That was costly. If you can get one back going into 17, you never know. But Tim is such a consistent player. He hits down the middle and on the greens. He's a real good champion and I'm happy for him."

Mike Wood, whose recent hot streak included a win in the East Tennessee Amateur at Elizabethton Golf Course, tied Volunteer basketball coach Mike Poe for third at 217.

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