Bradley Johnson, 2005 U.S. Junior Runner-Up, Dies At 17
March 27, 2006
, 17, of Birmingham, Ala., who finished runner-up to
in last year's U.S. Junior Amateur, died at the scene of a two-car accident Saturday in Lay Lake, Ala.
|Bradley Johnson played in the past two U.S. Junior Amateurs and last year's U.S. Amateur. (USGA Photo Archives)|
According to Shelby County Deputy Coroner Kyle McDonnell,
was driving one of the vehicles.
had been a standout junior golfer at Spain Park High School. Earlier this year he was named a third-team Rolex Junior All-American by the American Junior Golf Association.
In his second U.S Junior last year at Longmeadow (Mass.) Country Club,
lost to Tway, 5 and 3, in the 36-hole final. Any disappointment he had was momentary since he received an exemption into the following month's U.S. Amateur at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., for being a finalist.
wasn't one to pursue the limelight.
"Normally I don't have too many galleries," he said of receiving little fanfare in the two U.S. Juniors he played. "Last year, I played either behind or ahead of [stroke-play medalist and 2003 U.S. Junior champion]
's match, so there's about 600 people watching him and it almost looks like a [PGA] Tour event. And I've got my mom, my dad and my caddie and the other guy's caddie watching our group. It's still fun."
The night before competing in his first Amateur, the well-spoken Johnson intimated how honored he was to be playing in the historic event but had no expectations when asked how he thought he could do, basing that on "averaging 270 yards off the tee." He had a highlight shot on No. 9, his final hole, on the first day, chipping in from 25 feet out of the left greenside rough. He left Merion that day in awe, calling it the hardest course he had ever played.
"I didn't hit a bad shot the first three holes and I was three over," said
, who shot 12-over 152 and failed to qualify for match play. Still, he walked away from Merion smiling, saying he was happy he at least had the chance to play.
In 2004 he reached the Junior Amateur's round of 16 at The Olympic Club, losing a 2-and-1 decision to eventual semifinalist
, modest in describing his athletic abilities, mentioned that he was the only player 5-foot-7 or shorter on his basketball team that couldn't touch the rim.
Visitation will be Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Shades Mountain Baptist Church, 2017 Columbiana Rd., Birmingham, Ala. 35216. The funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the church.
Web Editor. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Birmingham News contributed.