Future Tiger Wins State Golf Championship

Auburn men's golf team verbal commitment Michael Johnson talks about winning the AHSAA 6A state title.

Birmingham, Ala.--Golf is an individual sport, but for Auburn verbal commitment Michael Johnson having a chance to play it in a team concept has its rewards, too.

The junior at Spain Park High School shot a nine-under-par total of 135 to lead his team to the Class 6A state title this week at The River Course at Hampton Cove in Huntsville. The Jaguars finished 16 strokes ahead of runnerup Hoover.

In round one Johnson shot a 67 that featured six birdies, 11 pars and one bogey. In the second round the junior shot a 68 with seven birdies, eight pars and three bogeys.

"I thought I?played pretty well," Johnson tells Inside the Auburn Tigers.

Asked what it means to be the individual state champion, Johnson says, "With the team having a chance to win the title for a third year in a row, we were all pretty focused on that," Johnson says. "Any of our top guys could have won. It just happened to be me."

Johnson adds, "It is a lot of fun playing with teammates because you don't ever have teammates in golf.

Spain Park's head golf coach, Steve Davis, is a former graduate assistant football coach at Auburn who worked at AU when Tommy Tuberville was head coach. Al Del Greco, the Spain Park team's volunteer coach, is an outstanding golfer himself and also has an Auburn connection. Del Greco was a star field goal kicker for the Tigers who went on to a successful career in the National Football League.

Johnson points out that Davis does a good job of keeping the players in a positive frame of mind and Del Greco is helpful with strategy on the course.

Johnson says he was pleased with the way he hit the ball at the AHSAA Championship. "I was a little rusty in the winter, but it has turned around this spring."

The golf season is in high gear for Johnson who plans to play in the state amateur in Florence, the state junior championship in Mobile, an AJGA event in Huntsville and the Graystone Invitational in Birmingham.

"Right now I am working on my short game," says Johnson, whose home course is Altadena Valley Country Club. "If you can chip and putt, you will always stay around even par and not shoot any big numbers."

Johnson notes that he grew up an Auburn fan, but says that his decision to attend AU involved more than that. "The decision I made wasn't just because I am an Auburn fan," he points out. "I based it on the facilities and the coaches. I feel like Coach (Nick) Clinard and Coach (Evan) Osteen know what they are doing and they are going to help their players get better."

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