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Sports

July 13, 2014

Johnson has high hopes for next season at OU

DUNCAN — Entering the University of Oklahoma’s women’s golf program, Amanda Johnson knew 2014 would be a decisive year.

The stage was set in May when the Sooners had their highest-ever finish, fourth, at the Division I National Championship in Tulsa.

Four seniors have departed, including three All-Americans, and now, as the Sooners welcome four new freshman, Johnson finds herself in a precarious position. With three years of eligibility remaining she is the most tenured player in the women’s program.

When the Duncan High School graduate signed with OU she knew she would have to be patient. After two years of hard work, she’s in a much different situation.

“That was something I expected when I first walked in, and I wasn’t too concerned about it,” Johnson said. “I know definitely an opportunity is available to me this year.”

With the upside of a chance to compete comes the downside of massive turnover. While Johnson’s former teammates may remain with the program as assistants or just friendly spectators, the team will have a different camaraderie this season.

Whether or not she’s the No. 1 bag, Johnson anticipates having a leadership role.

“I kind of walked in here as the little sister, and they all took me under their wing,” Johnson said. “All of my best friends were those girls. So it’s really hard to accept the fact that they are gone and now I’ll be doing the same thing for those younger ones.”

It won’t be a position that Johnson is unfamiliar with. At school she joined the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Last year she was nominated to be on the executive committee and this summer she’s serving as one of 21 members on the Big 12 board that represent each of the schools in the conference.

She is also on the athletics counsel which runs Oklahoma’s athletics department.

“That means the absolute world to me,” Johnson said. “That kind of stuff is what I want to do in the future and so it’s just setting me up for that.”

Even though she knows what she wants to do now, Johnson said it took her awhile to get to that point. After changing her major six times, Johnson has fell in love with sports management and she sees herself continuing down that path.

From the moment she stepped on campus, the university has helped her realize how important her education is.

“If you fail in school, you’re not trying,” Johnson said. “The first week I walked into school I got an e-mail that I had mandatory tutoring four days a week for about two hours. They make you, whether you want to or not, adjust to being a student there. I’ve always really enjoyed school so that wasn’t too hard for me.”

When it comes to adjusting in golf, Johnson has a special place where she can work on her games. Her father, Tim, has been a big part of the Territory golf course since its inception and is the current general manager.

The course, which was recently named the No. 4 golf course in the state, gives Johnson a place where she can hone her skills during the offseason.

“When I come home on the weekends I love coming out to the Territory,” Johnson said. “It’s nice having a good support system to come home to.”

The course’s impact is minuscule when compared to the effect that her father has had on Johnson’s game.

“He’s been the most dominant feature in my success as a golfer and as a student,” Johnson said. “I mean everything. I can’t thank him enough.

“My dad truly means the world to me and the fact that we get to share something like golf is going to be something we hold onto for a long time.”

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