Picking top pros brains the Texas advantage

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:00 AM ET

GIMLI -- Matt Johnston is enjoying his new role as a sponge, soaking up whatever he can.

Aside from working on his own game during the past season at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the St. Charles Country Club member had the opportunity to watch, interact and learn from some impressive golfers.

"It was a great year for moving forward, I had a lot of neat things that happened," said Johnston, who was a co-captain with the Roadrunner men's golf team as a sophomore. "There's a golf club in San Antonio where Notah Begay and Jimmy Walker play. I got to play with them, pick their brains and had a putting competition with them. Jimmy was the No. 1 player on the Nationwide Tour last year."

Johnston, who gives plenty of credit to coach Derek Ingram for helping him with both his mental and physical approach, is hoping to build on his exciting season with a strong finish at the Manitoba Men's Amateur Championship.

Johnston fired the low round of the day yesterday, a three-under 69, to vault himself into contention with two rounds to go at Links at the Lake in Gimli.

One of Johnston's many highlights from the past year was attending the Bay Hill Invitational, the PGA Tour stop in Florida that attracts many of the top players from around the globe.

"That's the first (PGA tournament) I've been to that is a huge event and has all the big guns," said Johnston, who has also attended the Texas Open in San Antonio.

During the tournament, he focused much of his attention on Vijay Singh.

"He's so calm and just rock-solid," said Johnston. "He's just having a great time out there, loving being out on the golf course."

Another one of the road trips with the golf team was an eye opener as well.

"We travelled to the Virgin Islands, which for a kid from Winnipeg was pretty sweet," said Johnston.


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