Richard Johnson, not Richard S. Johnson, is one shot out of the lead after the first-round leader of the Frys.com Open at the Grayhawk Golf Club.
The names can make it confusing with both men competing on the PGA Tour (Richard S. Johnson of Sweden won the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee this summer), but there is no getting around how well Richard Johnson, from Wales, played Thursday morning.
Johnson recorded a season-best round of 6-under-par 64 on the Raptor Course and to say he is a surprise on the leaderboard is an understatement, considering how the season has gone. At one point Johnson missed the cut in seven straight events. He’s made only eight cuts this year.
“It hasn’t been a good year for me,’’ Johnson said. “I’m fighting myself a lot out here. I got yelled at by my coach who was just saying this week 'you’re on the tour, enjoy it.’ And I haven’t been enjoying any of this because I’ve been fighting my game and struggling a bit, pushing too hard.”
He played at least 12 Nationwide Tour events for eight of the last nine years before finally qualifying for the PGA Tour.
Johnson won last year’s Nationwide Tour Championship and finished No. 1 on the money list.
What was originally a conversation between two friends has maybe turned the golf season around for Chris Stroud.
It’s good to have friends who are sports psychologists.
Friend and shrink Rick Provost had Stroud write down why he wanted to be on the PGA Tour and how he was going to do that.
Success has come his way ever since that moment and ever since his injured knee stopped hurting. Stroud has two top-25 finishes in the last month that has moved him up to 168th on the tour money list. He has a long way to go to get in the top 125 to keep his Tour card, and he’s continued his good play here at Grayhawk with a 5-under 65.
“Long story short. I got all my priorities straight and I know what I’m doing every day when I wake up,” Stroud said. “I think the beginning of the year, pretty much all year, I’d wake up and go to the golf course and really have no reason to be out there except to play golf. Now I have a deep engrained reason to be out here, and that is to win golf tournaments.”
The PGA Tour’s Fall Finish has been very kind to Scottsdale’s Robert Garrigus. He had two top-10 finishes in 2007 and is on his way to another big payday this week after shooting 66.
Garrigus is trying keep his status on the PGA Tour by finishing in the top 125. He is currently at No. 140 with $590,181 in earnings.