The grandstands did not fill up quite like they did for Seattle’s Fred Couples, but Jerry Johnson, the former assistant club professional from Ocean Shore, had his 30 army of followers.
They were loud.
They were anxious.
And in the end, they saw some pretty good golf.
Johnson fell three strokes short of missing the cut, but played the final 12 holes Friday of his second round at the 31st U.S. Senior Open in 3-under-par.
He finished off his tournament with a 72.
“I had a lot of friends and family out there, rooting hard,” the 53-year-old Johnson said. “I knew I wasn’t going to show them a good score. So I had to show them something else.”
He did, and something rare on this fast and punishing Sahalee Country Club layout – making birdies.
• On the 15th hole: He ran a 6-iron approach up a hard-sloping green, and sank a 6-foot putt for birdie.
• On the second, his 21-degree hybrid approach from the fairway nestled close. He narrowly missed a 6-foot eagle putt, but made a tap-in birdie.
• On the next hole, a par-4, he nearly holed out an 8-iron approach shot from 161 yards for his final birdie.
“I just let go, and got into a rhythm,” Johnson said. “I’m kind of a rhythm player anyway, and when I’m out of it, I can hit some God-awful bad shots – and did in the first 27 holes – and then I got it going, and got it rolling.”