Norfolk amateur Luke Johnson gearing up for 12,000-mile round trip
- Credit: Archant
Luke Johnson will be taking the longest flight of his young life next week to represent his country in the South American Amateur Championship.
The 22-year-old from King's Lynn is part of a four-strong English contingent who have been selected to travel the 6,000 miles to the Peruvian capital of Lima for what should be a memorable adventure.
Johnson recently jetted out to Spain to compete in the European Tour School and has also played in Abu Dhabi in the past – but this will be a whole new experience, and he can't wait to get out there.
'First and foremost I am really pleased to be in the team,' said the Norfolk player, a member of England's Elite amateur squad. 'We went to Portugal for some warm weather training just before Christmas and while we were there we had a qualifying competition for Peru. I played well to finish second, which was enough to get me in.
'Hopefully I can take that sort of form into the competition itself. I don't know much about the venue, but we are getting out there early so we can acclimatise and get used to the course.
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'It's an exciting opportunity for me and I am determined to make the most of it.'
Joining Johnson in the 72-hole strokeplay competition, which runs from January 22-25, will be double European Amateur champion Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park), Joe Dean (Lindrick) and Michael Saunders (Dartford).
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They will have plenty to live up to, with the event having been won by English players for the last two years. Callum Shinkwin from Hertfordshire won the title in Colombia in 2013 while Lancashire's Paul Howard triumphed, again in Colombia, a year ago. Johnson is hoping the event will provide one of a number of highlights in what he plans to make his final season as an amateur.
Once the campaign gets into full swing there will big events like the British and US Amateur Championships to aim for – while another big target in 2015 is the Walker Cup, the biannual contest between the top amateurs of Great Britain and Ireland and the United States, which is being staged at Royal Lytham in early September.
'I'd love to play in the Walker Cup and I'll obviously been doing all I can to qualify for the team,' said Johnson. 'I have been working hard since the end of the season, both on my game and my physical fitness, and I am feeling really positive about the year ahead.
'The plan is to turn professional immediately after the Walker Cup – and hopefully that will be after I have played in it.'