OKLAHOMA CITY — Back in May, Norman North’s Thomas Johnson made a big move playing for high school golf’s biggest prize, when a back-nine charge at Karsten Creek put him in a playoff for Class 6A medalist honors.
Thursday, with another back-nine charge, Johnson earned the opportunity to make a run at the biggest championship available to a golfer in the state.
The Oklahoma Golf Association conducts its State Amateur and Stroke Play Championship each summer, yet both are dwarfed by the Oklahoma Open, scheduled for Aug. 23-25 at Oak Tree Country Club in Edmond.
The field is open to professionals, college players and non-college playing amateurs, only the last of which must qualify. The pros will be playing for the state’s richest purse, but everybody will be playing for the same trophy.
Johnson, who will be a junior for the Timberwolves in the coming school year, won his qualifier Thursday at Lincoln Park West.
Just an 18-hole event, Johnson matched Jenks’ Austin Hannah at 5-under par 66 by shooting a 4-under par 31 on the West’s par 3-heavy back nine.
Similar to his final round at Class 6A state, Johnson was actually 5-under par over his final 10 holes, beginning his charge with a birdie 2 on the 205-yard ninth hole.
He followed with birdies at Nos. 10 and 11, a par 3 and a par 4. In addition to playing the back nine bogey free, he added birdies at Nos. 13 and 17, a par 5 and a par 4.
Johnson was the only Transcript area qualifier, though former Norman High standout Kyle Raberding finished a stroke out after an even-par 71.