29 Sep 2022 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour - Armstrong's golden ticket

by Australian Golf Media

Josh Armstrong image
Josh Armstrong had a late call-up to the DP World Tour. Photo: Getty

By Tony Webeck

He had less than two weeks’ notice but New South Welshman Josh Armstrong is ready to absorb every ounce of the experience after receiving a late call-up to the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.

Seventeenth on the 2021/2022 ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit, Armstrong himself estimates that he was 10,000-1 to receive one of the 10 spots on offer to the iconic DP World Tour event.

But the decision by Dimitrios Papadatos to return home to Australia two weeks ago opened the door.

Official confirmation of his place in the field came at 10.30pm Friday September 16 and at 8.01pm AEST on Thursday night he will tee off at Carnoustie Golf Links alongside Scotsman Stephen Gallacher and two hours behind major champions Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick.

“Any time you play the Old Course or Carnoustie will get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up, that’s for sure,” said Armstrong, who played the St Andrews Links Trophy twice as an amateur in 2018 and 2019.

“Regardless of whether I play well or not, it will be a massive learning experience.

“Those are the guys that you want to play with week in and week out.

“It’s trying to understand if there’s certain things that maybe I notice from them. Those are the cohort that one day you want to become good mates with and play against all the time.

“For me it was a no-brainer to go to the tournament, even just for the one per centers like that.”

Reminiscent of the ‘Big Easy’ Ernie Els not only in stature but in the languid way in which he swings a golf club, Armstrong did everything but win across the Australasian Tour season.

He finished top-10 three weeks in succession at TPS Sydney, TPS Hunter Valley and the NSW Open, was the 36-hole leader at the WA PGA Championship in Kalgoorlie and finished fourth at the WA Open a week later.

Now 23 years of age, Armstrong only turned professional at the end of 2020 and is learning how to handle the heat when he is in contention.

“There were a couple of times – WA PGA stands out the most – where I was in the hunt with Austin (Bautista) in Round 3 and I fell away a little bit,” Armstrong added.

“It came back to me trying too hard to get something really good out of the week.

“That’s the biggest thing to take away from last season. There were a few times where I was in the hunt and I’d try to force things too much. It’s learning how to be a little more free-flowing in those scenarios.”

Originally intending to attend Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School, a delay in the processing of paperwork meant that Armstrong missed the cut-off for submission.

That notification came after entries closed for First Stage of DP World Tour Q School at Rosebud Country Club, Armstrong now looking to replicate his form on home soil and earn one of the pathway opportunities on offer.

“It gives you some clarity and a benchmark,” Armstrong said of the exemptions into qualifying schools available through the Australasian Order of Merit.

“Obviously you’re still trying to win every week and give it your best shot but for me, planning out where I want to play for the rest of my career or further develop my career, it’s good to have those benchmarks and awareness.

“We’ve got two co-sanctioned events with DP World Tour this year so there are a lot of decent avenues to go to Europe through Australia now but, if I’m top 15 on the Order of Merit, then there’s the chance to go to Korn Ferry Tour Q School.

“The Aussie Tour is definitely growing in its avenues outside of Australia.”

Armstrong is one of 14 Aussies in the field this week in Scotland, Jed Morgan, Blake Windred, Aaron Pike, Louis Dobbelaar, Austin Bautista, Daniel Gale, Jordan Zunic, David Micheluzzi and Nathan Barbieri also in the field through the Order of Merit, joining Scott Hend, Maverick Antcliff, Zach Murray and special invite Geoff Ogilvy on the Scottish links.

Elsewhere this week Harrison Endycott is the lone Aussie in the field at the PGA TOUR’s Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi, seven Australians will tee it up in the Mercuries Taiwan Masters on the Asian Tour and Grace Kim, Gabi Ruffels and Robyn Choi are chasing promotion to the LPGA Tour at the Epson Tour’s Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic in Alabama.

Round 1 tee times AEST

DP World Tour

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, Scotland

Old Course, St Andrews

6.11pmScott Hend, Grant Forrest

6.22pm* Louis Dobbelaar, Yannik Paul

7.06pmRyan Fox (NZ), Hurly Long

8.01pm* Jediah Morgan, Espen Kofstad

8.12pm* Blake Windred, Sean Crocker

Carnoustie Golf Links

6.55pmAaron Pike, Tapio Pulkkanen

8.01pmJosh Armstrong, Stephen Gallacher

Kingsbarns Golf Links

7.17pmDavid Micheluzzi, Daniel Van Tonder

7.28pmMaverick Antcliff, Laurie Canter

6.22pm* Geoff Ogilvy, Johannes Veerman

6.33pm* Daniel Gale, Thomas Bjorn

6.44pm* Jordan Zunic, Oliver Fisher

7.28pm* Austin Bautista, Darius Van Driel

7.39pm* Nathan Barbieri, Maximilian Kieffer

8.23pm* Zach Murray, James Morrison

Defending champion: Danny Willett

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Scott Hend

TV schedule: Live 9pm-2am Thursday, Friday; Live 9pm-3am Saturday; Live 9.30pm-3am Sunday on Fox Sports 503.

PGA TOUR

Sanderson Farms Championship

The Country Club of Jackson, Jackson, Mississippi

4.12am* Harrison Endycott, Harry Higgs, MJ Daffue

Defending champion: Sam Burns

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Harrison Endycott

TV schedule: Live from 10.33pm Thursday on Fox Sports +; Live 5.30am-8.30am Friday on Fox Sports 503; Live from 10.33pm Friday on Fox Sports +; Live 5.30am-8.30am Saturday on Fox Sports 503; Live 7am-10am Sunday on Fox Sports 503; Live 7am-10am Monday on Fox Sports 505

Asian Tour

Mercuries Taiwan Masters

Taiwan Golf and Country Club, Chinese Taipei

8.50am* Ben Eccles, Matt Cheng, Liu Yu-jui

9.05amJake Higginbottom, Chapchai Nirat, Lu Wen-the

9.10am* Daniel Fox, Lin Yung-lung, Aman Raj

10.05am Sam Brazel, Sarit Suwannarut, Hsu Li-peng

1.25pm* Scott Strange, Hsu Chia-shen, Christoffer Baumann

1.30pmKevin Yuan, Wang Tsung-chieh, Rashid Khan

1.55pm* Travis Smyth, Wang Wei-hsiang, Suradit Yongcharoenchai

Defending champion: Suradit Yongcharoenchai (2019)

Past Aussie winners: Scott Hend (2013)

Top Aussie prediction: Travis Smyth

LPGA Tour

The Ascendant LPGA

Old American Golf Club, The Colony, Texas

11.26pm Lydia Ko (NZ), Jessica Korda, Madelene Sagstrom

11.37pm* Stephanie Kyriacou, Yaeeun Hong, Jennifer Song

11.48pm Su Oh, Dana Finkelstein, Lindsey Weaver-Wright

4.38am* Karis Davidson, Jenny Coleman, Daniela Darquea

5am Sarah Jane Smith, Brooke Matthews, Maddie Szeryk

Defending champion: Jin Young Ko

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Stephanie Kyriacou

TV schedule: Live 2.30am-5.30am Friday, Saturday; Live 4am-7am Sunday on Fox Sports 503; Live from 3am Monday on Fox Sports +.

Japan Golf Tour

Vantelin Tokai Classic

Miyoshi Country Club (West Cse), Aichi

9.50amAndrew Evans, Yuwa Kosaihei, Daijiro Izumita

10am Brad Kennedy, Yousuke Tsukada, Toru Taniguchi

10.10am Matthew Griffin, Tomohiro Ishizaka, Hirohiro Ichihara

10.20am Anthony Quayle, Mikuya Akutsu, Song Yonghan

10.30am Michael Hendry (NZ), Eric Sugimoto, Higashi Yano

11.10am Brendan Jones, Akio Sadakata, Yoshitaka Takeya

11.30am Adam Bland, Kenta Nishihara, Yoshikazu Shiro

Defending champion: Chan Kim

Past Aussie winners: Graham Marsh (1985, 1990), Brian Jones (1988)

Top Aussie prediction: Anthony Quayle

Challenge Tour

Hopps Open de Provence

Golf International de Pont Royal, Mallemort, France

10pm Daniel Hillier (NZ), Alfie Plant, Grégory Bourdy

Defending champion: Alfie Plant

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Australasian prediction: Daniel Hillier

Epson Tour

Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic

Ol’ Colony Golf Course, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Australasians in the field: Grace Kim, Gabriela Ruffels, Robyn Choi, Amelia Garvey (NZ), Hira Naveed, Soo Jin Lee, Emily Mahar

Defending champion: Inaugural event

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Gabriela Ruffels

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