A first-round 66 for Epson Tour alumna Linnea Johansson marked her career-best score on the LPGA Tour and has the Oklahoma State University graduate one shot off the lead in the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony Golf & Country Club.
Johansson began her fabulous showing in Fort Myers, Florida with four consecutive birdies. It was smooth sailing the rest of the way, outside of a small hiccup on No. 16.
“That was pretty crazy to start with four birdies,” said Johansson, who led all of Division I women’s golf with 132 birdies as a junior at OSU in 2016. “It's golf. You never know what's going to happen. I just tried to stay in the moment and appreciate the birdies I made. I wanted to keep going.
“Especially when you get to like 14, 15, 16. It narrows and it was windy. You have to pick a target with a little more cushion and try to hit a shot that gives you a little bit more room for error, and just hit as good a shot as you can.”
In 2019, Johansson finished in a tie for 26th at LPGA Q-Series to first earn Tour membership as a 2020 rookie. With the ups and downs of the last couple years, Johansson has worked overtime to establish her career on the LPGA, even if that meant splitting time competing on the Epson Tour.
She earned a career-best finish on the Epson Tour of runner-up at the 2020 Mission Inn Resort & Club Championship presented by IOA and tied for second in the 2021 Prasco Charity Championship. Each of those results, and the LPGA tournaments she competed in when opportunity knocked, manufactured a mountain of motivation and belief that she belongs on the biggest stage in women’s professional golf. It all manifested in a tie for eighth showing at 2021 LPGA Q-Series to secure full Tour membership for 2022.
“I think so. I am motivated to be out here,” Johansson said. “After Q-Series, it for sure gave me a lot of energy. There are other parts of life, too, so having perspective about life and what's going on, golf is not everything, but I think a little realization about that has given me a little bit more motivation.”