It took a while for Harry Johnson to hit full stride in tournament golf. But now that he has, no one -- not even Father Time -- seems to be able to slow him down.
A month shy of his 64th birthday, the Vail resident this week added another chapter to his impressive book of accomplishments this golf season.
Johnson, who plays out of Eagle Ranch Golf Course, made a 4-foot par putt on the final hole Friday despite a penalty stroke and completed a rare single-season sweep of major CGA senior championships.
Three months after winning the Senior Match Play for his first CGA individual championship, Johnson held off Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Kent Moore of Cherry Hills Country Club to claim the title in the 42nd CGA Senior Stroke Play at The Club at Pradera in Parker.
"These guys (his fellow competitors) make me play better than I can play," Johnson said. "It's really an interesting phenomenon. It's one reason I play in these events. I don't have that type of game when I play Saturday with my friends, but in a tournament the focus is there and I can make it happen."
Johnson (pictured above and at left) became just the fifth person to win the Senior Stroke Play and Senior Match Play titles in the same calendar year. Previously accomplishing that feat were Robert Polk (2009), John Olive (1997, 2001 and 2002), John Golden (1993 and '95) and Larry Eaton (1981 and '85).
And Johnson, who will turn 64 next month, became one of the oldest CGA Senior Stroke Play champions. Former state senator Les Fowler was 65 when he won in 1989.
Age "is not even a factor," Johnson said. "I don't even think about my age right now. I'm in pretty good shape. I spend some time working on it. I do a lot of Pilates and I work out quite a bit and my flexibility is good."
Johnson, who shared the lead with Moore heading into the final round, closed with a 2-under-par 70, giving him a 7-under 209 total. That was one better than Moore, who birdied two of the last three holes for a 71. Thomas Roos of Spring Valley Golf Club fired a 68 on Friday to place third at 213.
After hitting a 6-iron from 187 yards on the par-3 17th and holing a 3 1/2-foot birdie putt, Johnson took a two-stroke lead into the final hole Friday. But he hit his second shot on the par-5 into a hazard that fronts the green. However, he rebounded to place his fourth shot within four feet of the cup. By draining his 14-foot birdie attempt, Moore forced Johnson to make his four-footer to avoid a playoff, and Johnson did just that.
"I'm not good enough to play safe," Johnson said of his strategy on the final hole, where he had 228 yards into the green for his second shot. "At my level I just have one speed. Two times through that hole in practice rounds, then in two rounds of (tournament) golf, I hit that green every time. I just had to go with what my instincts told me. There was no other thought than I was going to hit that green."
The way Johnson was going, it didn't seem like anything would keep him from winning.
"I played really well. Normally I think that would win," said Moore (pictured at left), winner of major CGA championships at the junior, open and senior levels. "Harry just played great. He could have had a 66 real, real easy. (To lose by) one shot is tough, but I really can't complain."
Moore, the men's golf coach at Wheaton College in Illinois, flew back to Colorado specifically to compete in the Senior Stroke Play because his game was in very good form. Part of his thinking was that, at age 57, he didn't know how many more good opportunities he'd have to win a state title. But little did he know that a guy six years his senior would get the best of him.
"I felt like I was playing really well or I wouldn't have come back," Moore said. "I was like, 'You might as well go.' Although Harry is (almost) 64, it's harder and harder (to contend for titles) it seems like, so I thought I better give it a try."
Moore was tied for the lead with Johnson through five holes Friday, but after a birdie by Johnson at 6 and a double bogey by Moore at 7, Moore was playing catch-up the rest of the day. After being down by four with seven holes left, Moore crept within one with a 5-foot birdie on 16, then again with his final putt of the day.
"For some reason, now when I need a good shot I can make it a good shot," Johnson said. "It was the same thing in (the Senior Match Play). When I needed something, I reach back and I got it. It's pretty amazing."
As if sweeping the CGA Senior Match Play and Senior Stroke Play wasn't enough in 2013, Johnson also recently won the Colorado-based qualifying tournament for the USGA Senior Amateur. That national tourney, the first USGA championship for Johnson, will take place Sept. 21-26 in Cashiers, N.C.
CGA Senior Stroke Play
At Par-72 Club at Pradera in Parker
Harry Johnson, Eagle Ranch GC, 69-70-70--209
Kent Moore, Cherry Hills CC, 72-67-71--210
Thomas Roos, Spring Valley GC, 75-70-68--213
Bill Fowler, The Club at Rolling Hills, 74-72-68--214
Mike Larson, Boulder CC, 72-73-69--214
Brent Timm, Pinery CC, 68-73-74--215
Guy Mertz, Fox Hill CC, 73-73-70--216
David Delich, Broadmoor GC, 73-71-73--217
Eric Hoos, Highlands Ranch GC, 74-72-71--217
Tom Musselman, Bridges G & CC, 71-76-70--217
Sean Forey, Bear Creek GC, 67-77-74--218
Mark Hirsch, Lone Tree GC, 74-69-75--218
Kary Kaltenbacher, Glenmoor CC, 75-73-71--219
Robin Bradbury, Heritage at Westmoor, 71-75-73--219
Mark Franz, Saddle Rock GC, 78-71-72--221
Grant Porter, CommonGround GC, 73-75-73--221
Mick Maillot, The Club at Rolling Hills, 71-78-72--221
Robert Polk, Colorado GC, 76-74-72--222
Kelly Crone, Highlands Ranch GC, 72-73-77--222
David Comeau, Highlands Ranch GC, 73-71-78--222
Lance Balthaser, Meadows GC, 73-74-76--223
Bob Chandler, Heritage at Westmoor, 74-71-78--223
Tad Willenbrock, Glenmoor CC, 74-75-74--223
Bradley Becker, Plum Creek G & CC, 75-77-71--223
Patrick Mooney, Colorado GC, 70-80-74--224
Frank Hernandez, Pelican Lakes G & CC, 73-77-74--224
Robert Bulthaup, Valley CC, 75-74-76--225
Pat Bucci, West Woods GC, 77-72-76--225
Frank Wilkinson, Lincoln Park GC, 73-75-78--226
Steven Linnemeyer, Hillcrest GC, 72-76-79--227
Tom Warren, Fossil Trace GC, 76-76-75--227
Stuart Holland, The Club at Pradera, 73-77-78--228
Bo Powell, West Woods GC, 77-74-77--228
Chuck Fisher, Riverdale GC, 73-78-78--229
Bob Cloud, Bear Creek GC, 74-77-78--229
Roger Gunderson, Aurora Hills GC, 79-72-78--229
Rod Walters, Heritage at Westmoor, 74-78-79--231
John Ingram, Colorado GC, 74-74-83--231
Bruce Hogg, Patty Jewett GC, 79-72-82--233
Ronald Swartzwelder, CommonGround GC, 75-77-81--233
Jim LeMar, Meadows GC, 77-74-83--234
Tony Goodman, Silver Spruce GC, 73-78-83--234
David Merritt, Meridian GC, 79-73-89--241
FAILED TO QUALIFY
Pat Bowe, CommonGround GC, 77-76--153
Thomas McGeary, Highlands Ranch GC, 74-79--153
Art Cudworth, Raccoon Creek GC, 72-81--153
Ray Makloski, Pueblo CC, 78-75--153
Rick George, Castle Pines GC, 77-76--153
Pat Stanton, Breckenridge GC, 75-78--153
Joe Morrill, Eagle Ranch GC, 80-74--154
Mark Runyan, Canongate Colorado, 77-77--154
Michael Davis, Meadow Hills GC, 80-74--154
David Snow, Saddle Rock GC, 80-74--154
Steve Kass, CommonGround GC, 79-75--154
Jerry Kaylor, Broadlands GC, 75-79--154
Mark Boon, The Club at Pradera, 75-79--154
Steve Bell, Denver CC, 80-75--155
Bruce Hayes, Heritage at Westmoor, 79-76--155
Robert Burke, Twin Peaks GC, 75-80--155
Joe Distefano, Telluride GC, 76-79--155
Doug Jones, Tiara Rado GC, 77-79--156
Larry Netherton, Highlands Ranch GC, 77-79--156
Glenn Hyde, Riverdale GC, 78-78--156
Todd Novak, Vail GC, 79-78--157
Jim Pierce, Saddle Rock GC, 82-76--158
John Vanderbloemen, Haymaker GC, 77-81--158
Greg Thiesen, Columbine CC, 82-77--159
Matt Hall, Bookcliff CC, 84-76--160
Mike Lohse, West Woods GC, 77-83--160
John Sostmann, Raccoon Creek Men's Club, 78-82--160
Chris Pennels, Highlands Ranch GC, 79-81--160
Lonnie Miller, Lincoln Park GC, 82-78--160
Bill Bolgar, Ridge at Castle Pines North, 84-76--160
Bob Rognmoe, Raccoon Creek GC, 80-81--161
Dennis Fields, CommonGround GC, 83-79--162
Cliff Damato, Meridian GC, 80-82--162
Steve Summers, Broadmoor GC, 81-83--164
Mark Armistead, CommonGround GC, 81-84--165
Jeff Wyatt, Meadow Hills GC, 84-82--166
Dennis Hartman, Wellshire GC, 87-80--167
Gary Custer, Patty Jewett GC, 87-84--171
Michael Clark, Heritage at Westmoor, 87-89--176
Louie Lee, CC at Castle Pines, 79-NC
Dan Birnley, Conquistador GC, 82-NC
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