Luke keeps busy after home win
King's Lynn's Luke Johnson had little time to savour a maiden Norfolk Amateur Championship success yesterday on his home course.
The 19-year-old was heading south within hours of his four shot win over Caldecott Hall playing partner Aaron Bullock to compete in today's English Amateur at Woburn.
The final group was seven strokes clear of the field at the start of the last round, but Johnson took command with a blistering front nine and finished with a level par 72 while his rival could only manage a 76.
'It was nice to do it on my home course and see the support out there,' he said. 'I'd like to thank everyone who was there for me and my caddie Brian Underwood who did a brilliant job for me in the final round. On Saturday I'd hit it well off the tee and it was just a case of maintaining that. I was four under going out and four over coming back, so it's fair to say that front nine is where I won it.
'If Aaron had turned under par then it would have been a lot tighter and I might've had to dig deep. He had a couple of chances that didn't go for him but I was six clear at the turn so it was just a case of managing my game and my energy levels. I'd like to have finished the round under par but it wasn't to be. I guess a bit of tiredness crept in and the heat took it out of me a little bit but I did what I had to do.'
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Johnson signalled his intent with an opening round four under 68 to set the early pace.
'I actually started and finished that round with a bogey,' he said. 'Generally I was solid in every aspect of my game over the four rounds. I didn't have to do anything spectacularly well. When I needed to produce, I did. Standing on the tenth tee today with the lead I had, it was one of those if I had birded the hole then perhaps the course record might have been in my sights. I bogeyed it but I was still four clear and standing on 13 I was six clear again. It was just a shame about the final few holes.
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'The game is coming back. I have been working hard at it recently and with hard work, comes results. I just hope this is the start of the season for me now.'
Johnson travelled to Milton Keynes last night ahead of an early morning tee time for his English Amateur Championship bow.
'I pulled out of it in the past couple of years, so it hasn't been my main focus,' he said. 'The only thing I'm thinking about and focussing on right now is getting my energy levels back up. It's 36 holes stroke play and then match play for a further three days. I've set myself up at the moment as if I am professional in terms of treating this as my day job.
'I'm at King's Lynn from when my mum drops me off in the morning until she picks me up after work. I'm doing something I love so I'm prepared to sacrifice the money that might be on offer for a few years by staying amateur. At one stage I was quite keen to turn pro, but I want to get my amateur career back on track and use that as a platform. One of my main goals is to get in the England squad this year because I have been in and around it before. I just need to carry on how I've started the year.'
• KING'S LYNN SCORES
Norfolk Amateur Championship totals (22 players qualified for the weekend):
282 Luke Johnson (King's Lynn) 68 71 71 72
286 Aaron Bullock (Caldecott Hall) 73 67 70 76
294 Simon Clark (Yarmouth) 71 74 72 77
295 Paul Holland (King's Lynn) 76 73 71 75
296 Matthew Bacon (Costessey Park) 76 76 69 75, Frankie Plume (Sprowston Manor) 75 73 75 73
300 Ian Hardy (King's Lynn) 75 75 74 76
301 Paul Reade (King's Lynn) 73 71 79 78
304 Jason Wysonczanski (King's Lynn) 71 74 79 80
305 Chris White (Hunstanton) 80 75 73 77, Paul Savage (King's Lynn) 77 76 76 76, Ben Rawsthorne (Bawburgh) 78 75 77 75
306 Chris Lamb (Royal Norwich) 79 72 81 74, James Hill (Sprowston Manor) 76 74 78 78
307 Andrew Crown (King's Lynn) 77 76 75 79, Austin Brydon (Royal Norwich) 75 74 77 81
308 Chris Robson (Feltwell) 77 75 77 79
310 George Morris (Eaton) 77 77 74 82
311 Marcus Barrett (Eaton) 78 77 81 75
312 Kristian Coop (Royal Cromer) 78 76 85 73
313 Jack Yule (King's Lynn) 72 79 86 76
Ryan Page (Bawburgh) w/d after 3 rounds
Team Championship winners: King's Lynn (Luke Johnson, Paul Reade, Ian Hardy).