A special cause: Spain Park, Thompson tee it up at 13th annual Bradley Johnson Memorial

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – While 15 different golf teams teed off on the afternoon of Monday, March 18, at Greystone Golf and Country Club looking to bring home a regular-season title, their first tee shots of the 2019 Bradley Johnson Memorial represented much more.

In its 13th year, the golf tournament hasn’t lost sight of its big focus—honoring former Spain Park golfer Bradley Johnson.

The tournament started back in 2007 when Johnson tragically passed away in an automobile accident, and parents Hugh and Shari Johnson quickly sought a way to honor the legacy he left as one of the top junior golfers in the country. And 13 years later, they’ve done more than that.

While Spain Park and Thompson both finished inside the top 10 of the tournament, and Mountain Brook ran away with the 2019 team title, and Reynolds Lambert took home the individual title for the Spartans, the strokes throughout meant much more than a stroke toward a top-10 finish.

Each and every shot the 75 players representing the 15 teams hit during the two-day tournament honored Johnson’s legacies. From him looking down from above to his parents looking on in person, every shot was one Bradley Johnson would have been proud of because of its promotion toward junior golf.

Every year of the tournament, Hugh and Shari Johnson not only invite the golfers into their lives for two days to compete on the golf course, but on the Monday night of the tournament, there is a special dinner where the teams listen to stories about Bradley from friends, family, former players and his brother Michael Johnson.

His brother, a Web.com Tour player battling for his spot on the PGA Tour, is as good an example as any for all of the young golfers trying to become the best golfer they can become.

At the dinner, that point is driven home, as the tournament was started with the goal of promoting junior golf and helping kids not only play in tournaments, but earn scholarship money to play in college as well.

And several of the players in the tournament will get that opportunity, as great golf was played between the two days.

Mountain Brook took the overall team title with an aggregate two-day score of 570, while Spain Park finished runner-up after trying to defend last year’s championship. The Jags totaled a score of 610 between the two days.

Thompson also earned a top-10 finish thanks to an aggregate total of 637 to earn 10th in a tightly contested tournament.

Individually, Reynolds Lambert took home the low medalist honor thanks to rounds of 67 and 71 to finish at 6-under par. He led three Mountain Brook golfers that finished in the top three thanks to William Mann and Gordon Sargent finishing at 2 under and 1 under, respectively.

Spain Park’s Davis Brown earned a top-five finish by finishing in a tie for fifth after posting a two-day total of 3-over par. Brown shot an opening round 76 to go into day two at 4-over par. He followed that up with a 71 in the closing round to get a stroke back.

Thompson’s Landon Wockenfuss finished in solo eighth to lead the Warriors. Wockenfuss shot rounds of 76 and 72 to finish the tournament at 4 over. He made seven combined birdies between the two days, but a double bogey on the par 5 fifth hole each day kept him from finishing inside the top four.

Spain Park’s Slade McCraw added another local top-10 finisher. McCraw shot to equal rounds of 75 to finish the tournament at 6-over par in a tie for ninth.

The Jags’ final three players to represent the overall team score were Hayden Carner, Payton Ahlemeyer and Matt Stuart. Carner finished 29th after shooting 12 over, Ahlemeyer finished in a tie for 33rd after shooting 14 over and Stuart finished in a tie for 39th with a score of 17 over.

TJ Armstead (T36), Noah Brakefield (T50), Nick Lozito (T54) and Brett Rush (T54), closed out Thompson’s five in the tournament. Armstead finished at 16 over, Brakefield at 21 over, Lozito at 23 over and Rush at 23 over.

Following the completion of the tournament, Lambert signed the infamous flag that each champion before him has signed featuring the signature swing logo of Bradley Johnson. That and a picture of the All-Tournament team featuring Brown, seemed the fitting way to close out the special tournament.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.