by Tony Webeck, PGA of Australia
It was the moment when the head act almost left the stage.
Halfway through the third hole in his Australian PGA Championship debut at RACV Royal Pines Resort, Andrew & # 39; Beef & # 39; Johnston turned to his girlfriend Jodie in the gallery and said, "I have to get out of here."
A tee-shot that barely crossed the danger line before flying into the lake, against the 10th hole – his first of the day – set the early tone and when his tee hit the par-12th lap, he also went to one watery grave, the favorite of the fan seemed to stop before 07:00.
After hitting his third shot, he crossed the fairway to find his girlfriend with a way out or a reason to continue.
After recovering from his disastrous start, where he was 3-over by three holes to shoot 5-under over his next 15 holes to finish the round 2 deficit, Johnston thought about the moment he almost ran out and how Jodie turned around.
Where & # 39; Beef & # 39; thought it was a friendly word that put him on the wrong foot Jodie was adamant it was more of a kick under the ass – "I've obviously been a lot harder if he thought that was a friendly word" – but it brought the popular Englishman back in the battle for the tournament.
"Just a nice word, I think," Johnston said about their exchange in the middle of the 12th fairway.
"Just keep going, remembering that what I work on is new.
"I walked away after 12 years, to be honest, it was a frustrating year and yes, it really annoyed me in the past.
"I got 10 points and 12 points after I hit two tee shots because I worked so hard to get it right.
"But I talked to my girlfriend and she just told me to continue, so I did and I just tried to stay calm.
"Fortunately, I turned it around."
Despite the tee-shot at 13, where a water-carrier of 200-plus meters was needed, Johnston composed quickly enough to launch a ride right through the middle, but said it was his approach that set birdie on the par-5 15th who brought him to life.
While he was busy with swing changes with new coach Hugh Marr, Johnston hit good approach shots at both 13 and 14 without converting, but said it was a minor adjustment before he hit his second against 15 which eventually made him four birdies in his last seven holes yielded
"I had to cut a tree to cut a tree and that is what I tried to do, I tried to start it left and fade a bit," Johnston said about his second shot on the 15th.
"I realized in my swing that I had to get a much better face, much more open to my path, when I touched it and I saw it cut, it felt a lot better and I beat it nicer for the rest of the day.
"The problem is that I made this destructive photo, so I play seven or eight holes and then I hit one and I make 6 of them, and then I hit another one out of the sky or something like that and it's just destructive .
"There I could play golf and put together a score for the rest of the holes because I had not made destructive golf shots."
No golfer is immune to fluctuations in the middle of the swing, and when he composed a polished 4-under-lap of 68, Marc Leishman Johnston earned much praise for being able to fight back as he did.
"I've seen his tee there at 10," said Leishman, who played in the group behind Johnston.
"It was clearly not what he wanted, but he has come a long way and he will not give up.
"I've been there and golf is a funny game, you can think you're playing great and then it can switch in an instant, and the other way, as I think he did it today. then found something, and he was clearly from the bottom 5-down, so that's pretty impressive.
"When I go to the start, the way I look at it, well, those are all my bad holes out of the way for the tournament, just play smart from now on and hope you do not do stupid stuff anymore."