Madden Johnson has the upper hand for once in the family.
The youngest brother in the Johnson household certainly has plenty of healthy competition among his family. His oldest brother, Davis, is a former All-Apollo golfer, while his second oldest brother, Meade, is a Regional medalist and part of a state-qualifying boys team.
However, Madden can say he did something neither of them did – win the Apollo Conference individual title.
“It’s an honor to win the Apollo,” said Johnson. “Neither of my brothers ever won it, so to win it in my first year – it’s pretty special. Also to have my name up there with some of the best golfers to ever play in the Apollo is pretty cool.”
Johnson beat three other golfers by one stroke on Monday, firing a 78 at Mahomet’s Lake of the Woods Golf Course. He beat out last year’s medalist and teammate, Stewart Druin, who shot a 79 to tie for second place to lead the Green Wave to an Apollo Conference title for the second consecutive season.
“Beating Stewart wasn’t easy at all,” said Johnson. “Stewart’s a very good golfer and we always go at it in practice. It was cool to beat him, but, at the end of the day, we are both trying to do our best to make sure our team wins.”
The Green Wave compiled 325 strokes among its top four golfers to beat out runner-up Mount Zion by four strokes. Mount Zion had beaten the Green Wave just days earlier at Paris, but this time around Mattoon prevailed.
Johnson said that the final moments of the tournament were a bit nerve-wracking given that he was alone at the top of the leaderboard. After his round got over, there was a rain delay, so he had to play the waiting game, which is never easy when your lead is only by so much.
“Once I got into the clubhouse, I saw the scores of people who already finished and no one was ahead of me,” said Johnson. “Then, the people who had to stop their round came in and I heard their scores. So once the rain got over and the players went back onto the course I knew what people had to shoot on those final two holes and once I saw what they shot I knew I had won.”
Johnson said that his team trophy and the individual trophy will be moments that he remembers forever, but there’s one moment that will reign more special.
“Topping both of those is after everything was over getting to shake my dad’s hand because he has been my coach ever since I started and he has been with me through the ups and downs so that’s one thing I’ll remember forever.”
Now, with Regionals around the corner, Johnson will try and pull off the double win of Apollo champ and Regional champ, which is something never accomplished in the family household. If that all fails, he has at least three more years of competing for the Apollo title.
Johnson said all he needs to do is win it one more time and bragging rights will always be his among the brothers.
“I think it puts me up there,” said Johnson. “Me and my brothers are super competitive in everything we do so I don’t know if it makes me the best, but if I do it again I think I’ll take the trophy of best golfer in the family.”