Hudson Johnson has a flair for the dramatic. The senior golfer from Longview, Texas, has won two tournaments at Vanderbilt, which ranks second in school history behind Brandt Snedeker’s three. While his rank on the list is impressive, it is not nearly as impressive as how he won each tournament. In Johnson’s first victory he overcame a seven-stroke deficit in the third round by shooting a 9-under 63 at the Kauai Collegiate Cup. In his second victory, he followed a hole-in-one on the 16th hole by making a 30-foot birdie putt on 18 to win the Hummingbird Intercollegiate. Now in the final season of his career, Johnson hopes he can add at least one more victory to his list, no matter how dramatic.
On his goals for his final semester of college golf Brandt Snedeker has the school record with three wins, and I’ve got two, so in the back of my mind, I’d like to either tie or beat that. Also, I’d like to help get the team to NCAA Championships. We went there my freshman year, and that whole experience ranks at the top of my college golf career.
On how he started playing golf My dad just suggested playing the sport. I grew up about 1 1/2 miles from a driving range that was lit, and he would let me drive illegally there before I turned 16 to practice. That was definitely one of the perks to playing the sport. Also, as much of a social person as I am, I like the solitude of it. It is good for someone like me who is independent.
On how much the experience he has gained at the U.S. Amateur has helped him in college golf It definitely gives me that calming influence. I missed the cut both years by a stroke or two, and this year was most painful because I had the cut made with two holes to go and then I made a seven. I fought back all day long that second day, and I was almost there, but the wheels fell off and I didn’t have enough holes to recover. I came off that experience with some hunger to get back out there because I knew I could have done so much better. Also, you go from the U.S. Amateur where everyone is there to a college golf tournament that is still a big deal, but you kind of think that you might be one of the top guys there just because you just got done competing with guys that are on tour.
On how much he has improved the mental part of his game I’ve just become calmer and a lot more level headed. It’s not that it doesn’t mean as much to you, but you realize that it’s going to be OK. Freshman year, I’d go out and have a bad round and it was the end of the world. Now it is just a bad round, and I move on. You just learned to move on and shrug it off. That is the biggest part of golf—learning how to deal with pressure and not add any more to it. On his best memory as a collegiate golfer The best memory was that last day of regionals my freshman year when we made it to the NCAA Championship. Since high school, I’ve always liked it better when the team does well just because you have someone there to celebrate with and share the moment. It was really cool to experience that moment together.