|Jake North and Brandon Johnson Playing in US Mid Am|
|- On September 25, Brandon Johnson, from Beavercreek, and Jake North, from Vandalia, will tee it up in the 40th US MidAm Championship. This edition of the championship will be held on the exclusive island of Nantucket, just off the coast of Massachusetts. The winner will receive an invitation to the 2022 Masters and the US Open at The Country Club.|
The roads Brandon and Jake took to reach this level of golf differ; the beauty of the MidAm is the fact that the golfers are a little older, you must be 25 to compete. There’s more life experience among the players than in the US Amatuer when college kids seem to soak up the spotlight. Some MidAm players are reinstated pros who took a run at a dream and learned the hard way that golf doesn’t owe anybody anything. Brandon and Jake do not fall into that category. Instead, they’re among the group of talented players that fell in love with competitive golf and want to tee it up whenever they can fit golf into their busy lives.
Jake North will be playing in his first US MidAm. The Vandalia native, who grew up in the area, fired a 69 at the Heritage Club to stamp his ticket to Nantucket. North played in college at the University of Findlay. A stretch of 7 birdies in his opening 14 holes put North in the driver’s seat on his way to the clubhouse, however, it didn’t finish as stress-free as he hoped. Bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes dropped him back to three-under for the round. “We were laughing about it afterwards,” North said, “ because I had about a 25 foot putt for birdie on 18 that I blew 5 feet past the cup. The par putt horseshoed in the cup.” A bogey on 18 would have put North in a 3-for-1 playoff. It was a pretty impressive showing considering he had never seen the course before. With his dad on the bag, they grabbed a yardage book from the pro shop and studied the course before their tee time.
North is making his trip to Nantucket a family affair. His parents will join him, along with his sister and her fiance. “I had no idea where the MidAm was until after I qualified,” North admitted. He’s looking forward to the opportunity to play in such a prestigious event. It’s made sweeter that his dad will be his caddie. “It’s my biggest golf accomplishment. There’s gonna be some amazing golfers there.” As he thought about what would be a successful week, North said he was “completely open-minded. It would be a dream come true to make match-play.”
Brandon Johnson’s journey to qualification started when he began representing the Air Force in Armed Forces events. Having grown up in Duluth, Minnesota, Johnson didn’t take golf seriously until a little later in life. Instead, hockey was his first love, and he played it while attending Air Force. Once he graduated, he learned of the Armed Forces golf competition. He earned one of six spots on the Air Force team and that gave him a reason to set some goals and sharpen his game. He has found success, winning the 2016 and 2018 Veteran Golf Association championship.
This is not Brandon’s first MidAm berth; he also played in 2017 in Atlanta after shooting a 72 at Heritage Club. This year, Johnson thought his 69 would be enough based on the scores from past years. “I felt pretty good,” he said about his chances after the round. But his early tee time forced him to wait and watch some other scores trickle in. A 66 and 67 made Johnson feel a little less sure. His clean back nine, with two birdies and seven pars, was good enough to lock up a spot. About his round, Johnson said, “I putted well. Hit some good shots. It’s golf. I got some good breaks.” He also credits his group, as his partners had “great energy” which can go a long way in a qualifier.
Johnson, like North, had no idea where the MidAm was being held. Both men had similar attitudes about playing golf and putting it all into perspective. For Johnson, the intensity is quelled by the fact that “Everyone, when they’re done with their round, still has a job.” North said that as he’s tried to explain the MidAm to people he’s decided to just say he’s going on a golf trip. But not every golf trip ends with the winner playing in major championships.
Here’s hoping both Johnson and North enjoy their trip and return to Ohio with some great stories.