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Men's golf makes history with 2014 signing class

Monday, May 05, 2014
by Kirk Downs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – From day one when Will Brewer was hired as Lipscomb’s Director of Golf and head coach of the men’s golf team, he laid out the steps Lipscomb needed to take in order to build a prominent golf program.

“The No. 1 thing is we need to rebrand the golf program and No. 2, we need to recruit,” Brewer said when he was hired. “If we do those things well we will have the momentum to allow us to have some conversations in the golf community and the Nashville community overall. Our desire is to have a recognizable brand.”

In two short years at the helm, Brewer has stayed true to his beliefs and has the Lipscomb brand rising.

Brewer has helped Lipscomb to eight top 10 and seven top 5 finishes, two victories and two A-Sun golfers of the week over the past two seasons. The wins were the first for the men’s program since claiming the Murray State Spring Invite in April of 2008.

The Bisons capped off the 2013-14 season with a fifth-place finish in the Atlantic Sun Men's Golf Championship, the highest finish in school history in the event.

On the tail of one of the most successful seasons in school history, Brewer has signed the highest ranked class in program history. The signees include: Eric Ansett from Spokane, Washington - Dawson Armstrong from Brentwood, Tennessee - Hunter Howell from Franklin, Tennessee and Jake Dines from Oxford, England.

“I am extremely happy with the recruits we have signed,” Brewer said. “All four of these guys play the game very well and I can’t wait to get them on campus.

“I believe our fall qualifying will be very competitive and that is a good thing. They all know they will have to play well to travel. This will help our program improve quicker and will also help us prepare for the conference tournament. The guys have said all year the hardest tournament they have played in is the qualifying rounds in practice and that is what I am looking for.”

Eric Ansett – The Junior Golf Scoreboard ranks Ansett as the second-best junior golfer in the state of Washington and the 101st-best nationally in his graduating class.

Ansett competed in 25 events during 2013 and finished with a 73.6 stroke average over 43 rounds of play. Ansett recorded 17 top five finishes, including five victories.

While competing in a Washington Junior Golf Association event in 2013, Ansett carded an 8-under-par 64 at the MeadowWood Golf Course tying PGA Professional Rob Gibbons’ course record.

Ansett qualified for the 2012 US Junior Amateur Championship, the 2013 Callaway Junior World Championship and the 2013 Junior PGA Championship.

He received the Washington Junior Golf Association District-5’s Most Inspirational Award in 2013.

Ansett was recruited by and made official visits to Washington State and Gonzaga before committing to Lipscomb. He was also recruited by George Washington and Liberty.

The Spokane native was voted MVP of his Ferris High School team in 2011 and 2013 and was selected to the First Team All Greater Spokane League in 2012 and 2013. Ansett was also selected as the Greater Spokane League Player of the Year in 2013.

Also a standout varsity basketball player for four years, Ansett is a three-time First Team All-Mountain Christian League Selection.

“Eric was really intrigued by Lipscomb after hearing Lady Bison cross country freshman Kendra Weitz talk about what Lipscomb has to offer,” Brewer said. “With Eric being from the Northwest, it was difficult for me to get out there and see him play. Fortunately he qualified for an event in the D.C. area where I was able to meet Eric.

“I was very impressed with him. He is very tenacious and competitive in his game and has a lot of moxy on the golf course. He had five or six offers from some West Coast teams and he called back and after his two-day visit on campus, Eric committed to Lipscomb.”

Dawson Armstrong – Armstrong is the prized jewel of Lipscomb‘s 2014 class, bringing the highest individual ranking into Lipscomb’s men’s golf program in school history. Armstrong is rated the No. 28 best junior golfer in the nation by the AJGA Polo Golf Rankings and the 11th best in his graduating class. He is also a Rolex Junior All-American.

In 16 events played, Armstrong claimed 11 top 10 finishes, eight top 5 finishes and three victories, including – the 2013 Junior PGA Championship and the AJGA Bridgestone Golf/Brandt Snedeker Music City Junior.

Armstrong posted an 11-under-par score in the PGA National Junior Championship with rounds of 71-67-69-70.

In the 2013 TSSAA Division 1 A-AA state golf tournament, Armstrong helped Lipscomb Academy to a fourth place finish, finishing the tournament tied for first place as an individual before losing in a playoff to earn state runner-up. He carded a five-under par for the event after posting rounds of 70-69.

Armstrong will be a third-generation Bison as his father Dale played at Lipscomb in the 1980s and older brother Dowling is a rising sophomore for the Purple and Gold. Dale was a professional player for 10 years and is now serving as the Senior Development Counsel at Lipscomb.

“Dawson is a phenomenal player and has an excellent junior record,” Brewer said. “He is the highest-rated recruit we have ever signed to play golf here at Lipscomb. He has great potential and can be very successful on the next level; he has that kind of desire.  I am very confident and excited about him coming in. He will certainly help our program. Dawson really wants to do well and he will do everything he can to make us better.”

Jake Dines – Brewer ventured across the pond to find Dines. His high school team finished second in the EGU Championship in 2009 to start his career. Dines finished third in the county schools championship in 2012. He also went on to win the South of England School boys golf championship and finished in the top 25 in the national school boys championship.

Dines has several top 10 finishes in junior competitions, including sixth overall in the Order of Merit and tied for seventh in the State Junior Championship.

In the 2013 state championship, Dines finished sixth overall. He placed ninth in the South of England school boys championship and 26th in the national school boys championship in 2013.

“Jake has a lot of ability and desire and there is a reason he is coming to Lipscomb,” Brewer said. “He really wants to come to America to compete and I think he is going to be a driving force for us. I don’t know how long it’s going to take an international student to adjust, but I think he will adjust rapidly and will add depth to our squad.”

Hunter Howell – Howell is ranked the 561st best junior golfer in the nation according to the AJGA Polo Golf Rankings. Howell is the 215th best recruit in his graduating class.

He had a fifth place finish at the AJGA PNC Bank Junior Championship in a field of 107 in August of 2013. In the 2013 TSSAA Class AAA State Golf Championship, Howell carded a 75-74 and finished 10th.

Howell reached AJGA full exempt status in 2013 with a fifth-place finish in the AJGA Championship in London, Kentucky.

While playing in the same event as Armstrong, the Bridgestone Golf/Brandt Snedeker Music City Junior, Howell shot rounds of 73-84-73 to finish 24th overall.

As good as this incoming class is expected to be, Brewer is just beginning to elevate the golf program.

“Hunter is a young man that has a lot of talent and ability,” Brewer said. “I worked with Hunter as an instructor for four or five years and got to see him grow and mature as a player. I don’t know if Hunter will come in and compete in the first semester or the third semester, but there is no doubt in my mind that he will compete and make us better as a team.

“Our process at Lipscomb is to recruit the highest ranked players and to grow and improve each year. With this incoming class and the returning athletes, we will have a chance to compete in every single event we play in next season and I am very excited. The guys know they need to be preparing this summer for the fall season, as it will be very competitive.”