Past champ Dawson Armstrong shares Western Amateur lead; Tony Romo opens in 80

Dawson Armstrong birdied six of his first 12 holes in an opening 64 at the U.S. Amateur.

Past champ Dawson Armstrong shares Western Amateur lead; Tony Romo opens in 80

Amateur

Past champ Dawson Armstrong shares Western Amateur lead; Tony Romo opens in 80

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Two years ago, Dawson Armstrong won the Western Amateur at Rich Harvest Farms. On Tuesday, the Lipscomb senior found more success at the prestigious amateur tournament.

Armstrong shot 5-under 66 in the first round at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe, Ill. He shares the lead with Cal’s Collin Morikawa, who played in Armstrong’s grouping along with last year’s Western Am champ Dylan Meyer (72) of Illinois. Also tied for first are North Carolina State junior Stephen Franken and Iowa State teammates Ruben Sondjaja and Nick Voke.

“It feels really good to play a lot better golf than I did last year at Knollwood Club,” said Armstrong, who shot 76-76 to miss the 36-hole cut at last year’s Western Amateur. “I had a few thoughts of maybe having a run like last year where things just fell off the rails with the golf game. But I ended up rolling on in.”

Armstrong likely needs two big weeks, here and at the U.S. Amateur in two weeks, if he wants to make the U.S. Walker Cup team. Morikawa, who won the Northeast Amateur this summer, is a lock to make that team in the minds of many.

“A lot of good things happened today, and I’ll use that for the rest of the week,” Morikawa said. “I left a few shots out there, but that’s golf. I was happy to give myself a lot of looks. Today was a really solid day.”

Another Walker Cup hopeful, last year’s U.S. Amateur runner-up Brad Dalke, is among a big group tied for sixth at 4 under. That group also includes Vanderbilt junior Patrick Martin, and junior standouts Karl Vilips and Ricky Castillo.

The field will be cut to the low 44 and ties following Wednesday’s second round.

Among those needing a miracle round on Wednesday is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. After birdies at Nos. 13 and 14, and a par at the 15th, Romo was 2 over. But then he closed with a bogey and back-to-back triple bogeys to shoot 9-over 80.

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