Former SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge champion Andrew Johnston will split his time between Europe and the United States after securing his PGA Tour card for next season.
The Englishman carded a closing 68 on Sunday – appropriately National Cheeseburger Day for a man known by his nickname of “Beef” – to finish fourth in the Albertsons Boise Open.
That took his earnings from the first two events in the Web.Com Tour Finals to $54,910, with the top 25 after all four events earning potentially lucrative PGA Tour cards. In the last three years, the player ranked 25th has earned between $32,000 and $37,000.
Johnston, who claimed his SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge victory at Macdonald Spey Valley in Aviemore in 2014, hit the headlines in April by winning his first European Tour title in the Spanish Open and admitting he could not wait to get home afterwards to “get hammered’’ with friends and family.
The 27-year-old Londoner has since become better known by his nickname ‘’Beef’’ and exploited being flavour of the month during the US PGA Championship by signing an endorsement deal with fast food chain Arby’s.
The world No 74 proved hugely popular both at Baltusrol – where he finished 60th – and during the US Open at Oakmont, as well as on home soil during the Open at Royal Troon, where he finished eighth.
With the safety net of an exemption on the European Tour through to the end of 2018, Johnston will now try to compete on both sides of the Atlantic with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Open champion Henrik Stenson.
“I think it’s going to be a good schedule, man. I can’t wait,” he said in quotes reported by PGATour.com. “I came over and had a couple good weeks, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Johnston held the halfway lead at Hillcrest Country Club after opening with rounds of 66 and 63, although scores of 70 and 68 on the weekend meant he had to settle for fourth place, six shots behind winner Michael Thompson.
“Very happy to come over and get what I was trying to do,” Johnston added on Golf Channel immediately after his round. “It’s big. I would have liked to have maybe been a few shots better and been in the last group coming up there now, but so be it.
“I tried my best and that’s what I did, man.”
Speaking about his goals for next season, Johnston said: “I have expectations for myself to go out and compete and do well and that, but you’ve got to put the work in and prepare well for it, and that’s the first step before I go out and play inany event.” Aas for his celebrations, Johnston initially joked that he would toast his success with a few soft drinks before adding: “Nah, there are going to be a few beers, man.”
Johnston joins Bryson Dechambeau in locking up a PGA Tour card for next season after the American won the DAP Championship in a four-man play-off last weekend.
Dornoch man Jimmy Gunn, pictured left, closed with a 65 to finish joint-31st. He sits 70th in the rankings heading into this week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Columbus, Ohio.