Rylan Johnson Wins Stroke Play Qualifying Medalist at AZ Am
For Immediate Release
August 9, 2022
SCOTTSDALE – Gilbert’s Rylan Johnson shot a tournament-best -8 (64) Tuesday to capture Stroke Play Qualifying Medalist honors at -11 overall in 98th Arizona Amateur Championship at Desert Mountain Club’s Outlaw Course. Johnson’s lights-out round included six birdies and an eagle on a clean scorecard, and bettered Joe Neuheisel’s -7 (65) and -10 overall for top stroke play honors.
“It was pretty simple – I hit the ball really well, hit 17 greens and putted a lot better than I did yesterday,” said Johnson, 18, a recent graduate of Williams Field High School who will play golf at Oregon State University this fall. “I had a few struggles on the greens yesterday but fixed those up pretty nicely today and scored well.”
Johnson edged out Neuheisel by a stroke, and needed every shot after Neuheisel recorded 10 birdies Tuesday. But a double bogey and bogey dropped the former Boise State University standout just out of Medalist honors. Neuheisel, understandably, was pleased with his second round.
“Yeah, definitely – I got off to a bit of a weird start, kind of missed a pretty easy putt on the first hole,” said Neuheisel, 25, who nearly made the field at last summer’s U.S. Open Championship at Torrey Pines as an alternate. “I didn’t know if the day was going to go the way it did. But definitely got the putter hot. 10 birdies is all I can ask for.”
There will be an 11-player playoff for the final five spots in the 64-player Match Play field at 7:00am Wednesday morning.
Playing in uncharacteristically calm conditions at the Outlaw Course, both Johnson and Neuheisel were able to go low to surge to the top two seeds in Match Play. Still, both players are aware of the challenges Outlaw can bring as strategies shift from playing against the field, to playing against a single opponent.
“This is a really good golf course for match play, they can do a lot with the pins, a lot with the tee boxes and make it interesting for us,” said Johnson, the Junior Golf Association of Arizona (JGAA) 2021 Boys Championship Player of the Year. “So yeah, looking forward to that and we’ll see how it goes. My mindset doesn’t really change. I feel like just keep being aggressive – obviously its 1 v. 1 so it’s a little different – but yeah, keep being aggressive.”
“They’ve already changed up the tees quite a bit on some of the par 3’s and throughout the whole course,” said Neuheisel, the son of former Alliance of American Football (AAF) Arizona Hotshots Head Coach Rick Neuheisel. “So I think a lot of creativity using slopes on the greens to your advantage – I had one shot today that I hit it like 30 feet left and it came down to five feet. It will be fun in match play just seeing how many birdies you can make and seeing if you can outpace the other guy.”
Scottsdale’s Cade Anderson, Phoenix’s Joey Geary and Chandler’s Caden Christopherson each finished tied for third in Stroke Play Qualifying at -7 overall, four shots behind Johnson. Scottsdale’s Davis Johnson and Matt McDougall, and Paradise Valley’s Max Schwarz each tied for sixth at -6 overall; while Chandler’s Jon Lindquist and Peoria’s Kobe Valociek rounded out the Top 10 at -5, respectively.
After the playoff, all Round of 64 matches will be contested Wednesday. Round of 32 and Round of 16 matches are scheduled for Thursday. Friday sees all Round of 8 and Round of 4 matches, with the last two players remaining in field squaring off in Saturday’s Championship match.
Full leaderboard can be found by clicking here.