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Family gets long-awaited Resorters title

Alexandria's Randy Johnson lines up a putt on the 11th green during his Masters Division championship round against Ron Way on Aug. 4. Johnson got his first Resorters championship as he beat Way in a 5-4 final. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Alexandria's Randy Johnson and his family have been waiting on a Resorters title for almost 70 years.

At family outings, the conversation comes up: Who's going to win a Resorters championship? Randy's wife, Deb, and her family started playing at the Alexandria Golf Club in 1949.

In the years since, many family members have made a run at the Resorters, including Randy himself for more than two decades. Finally, after a memorable week at AGC, Randy ended that drought by taking home the Masters Division title on Saturday.

"This is something we've been working on," Randy said. "We talk about it every year. At Christmas time, we say, 'Who's going to win the Resorters this year?' We finally got one."

Johnson took on fellow AGC member Ron Way in the Masters Division championship on Saturday and came away with a 5-4 win.

Both men had a tournament to remember. At 80 years old, Way battled his way through the tournament as the 15th seed and won tight matches in 19 holes, 2-up and 1-up.

Johnson went into the championship coming off of perhaps his most memorable round at the Resorters in his entire life. He was down four holes through 11 against two-time defending champion, Dan Elton of Moorhead. Johnson stormed back from there, winning 1-up with a birdie on the 18th hole.

"(That), obviously, was the highlight of the whole week, coming back from four down against the defending champ," Johnson said. "I came out (Saturday) and got off to a good start. Went 3-up after three, and it kind of stayed that way."

Johnson used pars on the first three holes to take that early advantage. Way got one back with a par win at No. 6, but it was one of only two wins on the day for Way. He also took No. 10 with a par.

Johnson countered by using a par win at No. 8 to take a 3-up advantage into the turn. Par, birdie and bogey wins on Nos. 11-13 then put the match away after both players parred 14.

"The driver for the most part was pretty solid," Johnson said. "I don't think I really hit a bad drive, a bad pull left or a big push right. I always had a second shot. That was solid, and I putted great again. I had a three-putt on No. 6, but that was the only bad putt I made. The rest were solid, and when I needed to get up and down, I pretty much did."

Johnson said he has seen Way putt a little better than he did on Saturday. He knew he would have to play a good round to win and perhaps overcome some nerves. At least he thought that would be the case going into the day as he played in his first championship round.

"I've been nervous before where I can hardly put the ball on the tee," Johnson said. "That didn't happen. I was not as nervous today. It was fun because I got to play with (Senior Division finalists) Chris Haugen and Jon Empanger. They're great competitors and got to watch those guys hit the ball so far, and everyone is a gentleman in the game. Ron is a gentleman."

After the match was won, Johnson gathered in the clubhouse with Deb and plenty other friends and family who were there to congratulate him. It was a special ending to a week the Johnsons won't soon forget.

"We ended up having a great time out there today," Johnson said. "The feeling was a great feeling. It's a great feeling because it hasn't happened in our family."

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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