CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. --- Chattanooga Mocs junior Liam Johnston (Dumfries, Scotland) had an unusual fall campaign. It has resulted in securing the No. 1 spot in the current Palmer Cup Standings for the European team.
“It is a great testament to hard work and determination,” Head Coach Mark Guhne stated. “It is well-deserved. He could’ve hung his head and not had an impact, but he got an opening and made the most of it.”
Johnston did not compete in the first two tournaments missing out in team qualifying. The government shutdown played to his advantage. Air Force had to withdraw from the Brickyard Collegiate which opened an individual spot for the affable Scot.
“We’ve kidded with him that he may be the best player in the country that can’t qualify for his own lineup,” Guhne joked. “He got his shot and made the absolute most of it. I could not be prouder of him.”
Taking advantage of his opportunity is an understatement. Johnston shot six-under par 210 to tie for sixth in the 85-player field. He then tied for second posting minus eight (208) at the AutoTrader.com Collegiate and ended the fall tying for ninth at the Bridgestone Golf Collegiate with a level-par 144.
Johnston shot under par in his first six rounds and on seven of his eight cards. There were three rounds in the 60’s as he averaged 70.25 strokes per round and ranks No. 10 in the Golfstat collegiate rankings.
There are 10 members selected for the European and American Palmer Cup squads. The 2014 event is at Walton Heath Club in Surrey, England near London. Johnston’s .9876 score is ahead of Memphis freshman Lars van Meijel (.9835). The remaining eight in position to secure a spot on the Euro team is Ben Rusch (Virginia), Julien Brun (TCU), Sebastian Cappelan (Arkansas), Greg Eason (UCF), Ricardo Gouveia (UCF), Pep Angles (Central Arkansas), Rowin Caron (Florida State) and Joel Stalter (Cal).
The American standings are headlined by Ollie Schniederjans (Georgia Tech). He is currently joined by Trey Mullinax (Alabama), Mark Anguiano (Cal State Fullerton), J.T. Poston (Western Carolina), Brandon Hagy (Cal), Bryson Dechambeau (SMU), Joey Garber (Georgia), Chase Koepka (USF), Joey Parkinson (BYU) and Ian Davis (Oklahoma State).
Johnston’s leadership in the Palmer Cup standings is just another indication of the growth of the Chattanooga men’s golf program. In 2012, the Mocs captured the NCAA Bowling Green Regional with Stephan Jaeger (2009-12) winning medalist honors there en route to becoming the team’s initial first team All-American.
Steven Fox (2010-13) added to the program’s lore and lure later that summer. He completed an improbable run from a playoff for the final match play spots to the championship at the United States Amateur at Cherry Hills Country Club outside Denver, Colo.
Chattanooga has won five of the last seven Southern Conference Championships. It has competed in NCAA Regionals seven consecutive seasons advancing to the NCAA Championship in 2009 and 2012.
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