Joey Johnson, of Ozark, Mo., won his second consecutive Missouri Amateur championship by defeating Joseph Atkisson 6 and 4 at the Norwood Hills CC on June 29.
Johnson’s victory puts him in an elite group as only the seventh player in the 107-year history of the event to win back-to-back titles. Tom Watson accomplished that feat twice, in 1967-8 and again in 1970-71. It also puts Johnson in a select group of champions who were medalists and went on to capture the amateur title.
“The week was just great from beginning to end,” said Johnson who will be starting his junior year at Missouri State University this fall. “A lot of the holes fit my eye so I had a good feel about the place from beginning to end.”
Johnson had a blistering start going birdie-eagle-par-birdie on the first four holes of the morning round to take a 6-up lead thru nine holes.
Atkisson, whose game is to play steady, mistake-free golf said, “I knew after he made a birdie putt on seven that I had to start shooting at flags because it didn’t look like Joey was going to slow down. You can’t control what your opponent is doing- and sometimes like today, you just tip your cap and say, ‘Well done!’ ”
Finishing the morning round with an almost insurmountable 7-up lead, Johnson stretched his lead to 8 up with 12 to play during the final 18 holes. To Atkisson’s credit, he never quit as he fought to stave off elimination before finally losing the match 6 and 4.
Johnson will come to next year’s event with a chance to accomplish something that even golfing legend, Tom Watson failed to achieve – three straight Missouri Amateur titles!