Photos by Rachael Long
By RACHAEL LONG
Brentwood will once again be home to the Nashville Golf Open (NGO) benefiting the Snedeker Foundation. The Nashville Golf and Athletic Club will host the tournament May 2-5.
Scheduled to compete at the NGO as a sponsor exemption is Brentwood local Dawson Armstrong.
He attended both Lipscomb Academy and Lipscomb University, where he won ten tournaments and posted 86 under-par rounds in the 142 collegiate rounds he played. He was also named the Atlantic Sun’s Golfer of the Week 13 times, according to NGO organizers, which set a conference record for “any player in any sport.”
Though he looks forward to playing on a familiar course, Armstrong said he’s also excited to get to sleep in his own bed.
“[The course is] literally 15 minutes away from my house,” Armstrong said. “Brentwood’s been so good to us…To know that I have an opportunity to showcase what I have as a golfer in my home city in front of a home crowd is really something to be proud of.”
Armstrong had a chance to compete in the individual competition of the NCAA national finals last year, but chose to play in the 2018 NGO instead.
Being at home gave him a bit of a home course advantage, but Armstrong said it came with some initial nerves, too.
“Last year, the first shot of the first tournament was the most nervous I’ve been,” Armstrong said. “There were so many people that I knew…and I knew I had to start performing well for them.”
Germantown native Braden Thornberry will also play as a sponsor exemption in the 2019 tournament.
This marks the fourth year of a five-year contract for the NGO between the PGA TOUR and Brentwood-based Tour Visions Promotions.
“This event continues to grow, and it’s really become a staple in Middle Tennessee sports calendar now,” Mike Alday said during the NGO Media Day. “It is the only professional golf event in town.”
In order to keep the event coming back to the city, Tournament Director Charlie Clarkson announced a new sponsorship program with four partners who will sponsor the NGO through the 2022 event.
The program, called “Proud Partners,” is a four-year agreement with Enterprise Solutions, Thompson Machinery, LP Building Products and Team Construction.
Those competing in the 2019 NGO include Stuart Appleby, Carl Pettersson, Jason Bohn, Matt Every, Frank Lickliter II, Eric Axely, Derek Ernst, Parker McLachlin, John Merrick, and Dicky Pride.
Clarkson said the chance to have rising professional golfers like Armstrong and Thornberry play in the tournament is what makes the NGO special.
He also said golf is kind of a funny sport.
“You play a lot of golf, you practice a lot of golf, and you practice so that you play less. It’s the only sport, I think, [that] you practice so hard you end up playing less in the end,” Clarkson said. “If you play less, you’re playing better.”
NGO schedule, parking, and prizes
The NGO will take place May 2-5, with the opening round of 156 players beginning Thursday at a tee time of 6:30 a.m. Friday’s tee time will also be at 6:30 a.m., and the field will be cut to the top 65 players and ties.
The NGO Pro-Am will take place Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30 a.m., (tentatively).
Before the competitive schedule begins, the NGO will also include a Charley Foundation Junior Clinic at the Golf House of Tennessee in Franklin on Sunday, April 28 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The course will be open Monday, April 29 for participant practice rounds, as well as the “Proud Partners” Pro-Am and NGO Open Qualifying Tournaments. The Pro-Am will feature 52 teams, four players and one professional.
The course will be open again Tuesday, April 30 for participant practice rounds. Tuesday will also feature a 4:30 p.m. event, new to the NGO, at the Nashville Golf and Athletic Club. It’s called the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Pro Junior Shootout.
A worship service will be held at 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 5, the last day of the NGO tournament. Closing ceremonies will take place later that evening at 5 p.m. on the 18th green.
Parking will be provided by both Ravenwood High School and the Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Monday through Friday, parking will be available at the church. Weekend parking will be available at Ravenwood.
The total purse for the NGO tournament is $550,000, and the winner will earn $99,000.
The Snedeker Foundation was founded in 2012 and supports a variety of efforts on both the social and athletic fronts, increasing community awareness, education and training about child maltreatment. The nonprofit has raise an excess of $1 million for charities across Middle Tennessee.
Through the Tennessee Golf Foundation, the Snedeker Foundation annually supports the Sneds Tour, a year-round junior golf tour in Tennessee.
The Brentwood-based NGO is the tenth stop on the Web.com 2019 Tour. Web.com is owned and operated by the PGA TOUR. This season marks 28 years of competition for Web.com.