It had to be ‘Beef’.
Coming off birdie at the par-5 15th and consigning his day one horrors to the history books, Andrew Johnston stepped up and hit what he thought was a perfect 8-iron to the par-3 16th green.
Two days earlier he had been the one handing out the pies and beers and the Australian PGA Championship’s party hole in a pre-tournament promotion; now, while ever the Australian PGA Championship is played at RACV Royal Pines Resort, the man they call ‘Beef’ will feature prominently on the highlight reel.
When his tee shot drifted just right of the pin cut on the right side of the green Johnston’s ball trickled down into a collection area that turns amateurs into a quivering mess.
Now ranked 200 in the world, Johnston is quickly adjusting to the grain of the Royal Pines greens and sent an already boisterous Volkswagen Marquee over the edge when he chipped in for birdie.
“You couldn't pick a better hole to do it really,” said Johnston, who returned to the 16th and the Oakley Gold Coast Beach Club to mingle with fans after his round.
“As it bounced, it hit and it was just going in, it disappeared. It was just a perfect hole to do it on, it was great.
“It was probably the best shot I've hit the two days off the tee there. I didn't think there was no way I was going to hit an 8-iron long.
“As it was in the air, it was good, but to see it disappear over the back, I looked at it and I was like, Oh, shit, really, to be honest.
“Luckily it was going into the grain a bit and I knew it was going to stop fairly quick if I played it right, and it went in.”
As playing partner Cameron Smith plundered birdies left, right and centre, Johnston made 10 straight pars to start his round and said that staying patient was key as he eagled the par-5 12th and made birdies at 15 and 16.
“For me, I was playing OK and watching him make birdies and I had to really try and stay patient out there, watching him go to 4, 5, 6, 7,” he said.
“I was like, all right, just be patient and keep going. Luckily I found a few coming in.
“I hit a good tee shot there (on 12), then had a pretty good number and hit a lovely 3-iron in there.
“I was like, I can't remember the last time I had an eagle, it was ages ago. We were laughing about it.”
Johnston will now play alongside David Bransdon in the fifth-last group at 11.32 AEST on Saturday, but not before a night of beef, beer and boxing at Nineteen at The Star.
“Steak and boxing, perfect,” said Johnston, referencing the Jeff Horn-Anthony Mundine fight happening an hour up the road at Suncorp Stadium.
“You know I'm going to have a beer with that as well.
“Perfect, what an evening.”
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