Armstrong fired a 3-under-par 69 on Saturday at The Club at Ridgefields to pull ahead by a stroke.
“I’ve never won this tournament,” said Armstrong, who was leading a 12-man championship flight field. “I’d like to win it. I know the field isn’t as big, but there are still some good players.”
Armstrong was at 4-under 140 after two rounds.
Chasing the leader in Sunday’s final round will be Carlson Cox, one of Armstrong’s former teammates at Volunteer High School, and Nashville’s John Tyminski. They were a shot behind.
Cox, the first-round co-leader after a 70, shot 71. Tyminski had a 70.
“I didn’t really have to fight as much on the back as I did yesterday,” Cox said. “The swing is starting to tighten up. It’s getting closer. I had a lot more birdie opportunities. I’m giving myself chances.”
Cox, a two-time Ridgefields champion, was just trying to stay in contention through two rounds. Now that he has, he gets the added bonus of competing with a longtime friend.
“I’m there; I accomplished it,” he said. “I was hoping for us to get together, so it will be fun. If anybody was to beat me, I’d want it to be Lucas. We’ll just fight it out. Hopefully it will come down to the last hole.”
Tyminski was in contention after the first round here last year only to play the final two rounds in 5 over par. That experience could help on Sunday.
“Just getting to know the course is always good,” said Tyminski, who plays for Tennessee State. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m in the final group. You can’t ask for anything more than that.”
Armstrong came in on a hot streak. He shot rounds of 66 and 71 at Willow Creek in Knoxville during Tuesday’s U.S. Amateur qualifier. He missed a playoff by two strokes but left with a lot of confidence.
After Ridgefields, Armstrong is headed to Bowling Green, Ky., for next week’s Southern Amateur.
“I’ve been playing well,” said Armstrong, who had five birdies and two bogeys on Saturday. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the Southern Amateur. I’d like to play well there.”
Eddie Karst, who shared the lead with Cox after opening with a 70, shot 75 to fall to 1 over and will start the final round five strokes back. Nobody else is closer than 11 shots out of the lead.
In the seniors division, Tim Dinwiddie posted his second consecutive 69 to retain the lead. At 6-under 138, he was three shots ahead of defending champion Mark Halvorsen, who shot 71.
“I’ll be fortunate to do the same tomorrow,” Dinwiddie said. “I’ll take another one. There are some good players capable of shooting low. I just have to keep playing as hard as I can and hope for the best.”
Dinwiddie went 4 under on a three-hole stretch on the back nine to solidify his lead. His round was highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 11th when his hybrid out of the left rough found the green and he connected on a 15-foot putt.
“It ran like crazy,” Dinwiddie said. “I was just trying to hit it on the front of the green and I got lucky.”
Mike Wood also shot 69 and was alone in third at even par.
Also in the senior division, Steve Love made a hole-in-one when he holed out a 6-iron at the 169-yard fifth hole.
Bob Ross shot 73 in the two-man super senior division to increase his lead to 12.
The final round is set for Sunday with the leaders in the senior division going off at 11:40 a.m. The championship flight leaders are set to tee off at 12:20 p.m.
69th annual Ridgefields Invitational
At The Club at Ridgefields
After Saturday’s second round
Lucas Armstrong 71-69—140
Carlson Cox 70-71—141
John Tyminski 71-70—141
Eddie Karst 70-75—145
Ken Miller 76-75—151
Ben Campbell 77-74—151
Drew Owens 78-73—151
Scotty Hudson 77-78—155
Darin Karst 79-77—156
Zac Fletcher 80-81—161
Jacob Owens 86-85—171
Chris Click 90-WD
Tim Dinwiddie 69-69—138
Mark Halvorsen 70-71—141
Mike Wood 75-69—144
Bill Hardin 70-75—145
Ron Waters 75-72—147
Mike Poe 72-75—147
Tony Green 76-72—148
Bill Argabrite 75-73—148
James White 77-72—149
Jerry Matthew 74-78—152
Tony Gouge 73-80—153
Randy Sharrow 76-77—153
Lyman Fulton 74-81—155
Bowen Scott 78-81—159
Steve Love 82-78—160
Sam Blaylock 76-86—162
Roger Catlett 85-WD
Super Seniors Division
Bob Ross 74-73—147
Randy Longcrier 78-81—159
Calhoun Salyer 73-79—152
Chris Jenkins 78-79—157
Sam Cunningham 80-79—159
Wes Argabrite 80-84—164
Larry Gilliam 85-91—176
Barb Tyler 91-89—180
Mike Haney 80-75—155
Chris Johansen 86-81—167
William Karst 97-73—170
Phillip Owens 90-83—173
Paul Butcher 85-89—174
Danny Dickerson 92-85—177
Scott Cureton 90-95—184
(Points system based on handicap)
Nick Mueller +15
Rick Hudson +12
John Doster +6
Rick Jackson +5
Bill Lewis +2
Lamarr Stout +1
Kenny Fleming -1
Todd East -1
Vic Ring -1
Mark Rosenbaum -3
Craig Denison -3
Michael Jeter -4
Chris Mullins -5
Jim Stout -5
Chris Sublett -6
John Hanrahan -7
Rick Sizemore -10
Sunday’s tee times
8:30 a.m. — J.Stout, East
8:40 a.m. — Hanrahan, Denison, Sublett
8:50 a.m. — Sizemore, Ring, Jackson
9:00 a.m. — Fleming, Mueller, Doster
9:10 a.m. — Lewis, L.Stout, Rosenbaum
9:20 a.m. — R.Hudson, Jeter, Mullins
9:40 a.m. — Tyler, Cureton
9:50 a.m. — Cunningham, W.Argabrite, Gilliam
10 a.m. — Salyer, Vicars, Jenkins
10:10 a.m. — Dickerson, Butcher, P.Owens
10:20 a.m. — Haney, Johansen, W.Karst
10:40 a.m. — Ross, Longcrier
10:50 a.m. — Blaylock, Love
11 a.m. — Scott, Fulton, Sharrow
11:10 a.m. — Gouge, Matthew, White
11:20 a.m. — Green, Argabrite, Rodgers
11:30 a.m. — Waters, Poe, Hardin
11:40 a.m. — Wood, Halvorsen, Dinwiddie
11:50 a.m. — J.Owens, Fletcher
Noon — D.Karst, S.Hudson, D.Owens
12:10 p.m. — Miller, Campbell, E.Karst
12:20 p.m — Tyminski, Cox, Armstrong