Daren Johnson made it two straight Nevada State Mid-Am titles as he won the 2019 edition by seven strokes. The three-day event was played Aug. 20-22, 2019, at the Red Hawk Resort in Reno, NV. –By Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
Former UNLV golfer and PGA Tour player Edward Fryatt was second and in a familiar spot. It was the second straight year Johnson and Fryatt finished 1-2. Johnson (1967 Club) and Fryatt (TPC Las Vegas) are from the Southern Nevada Golf Association. Third and fourth place finishers Joshua Reagan (Club at Arrowcreek) and Kevin Kitchell (Resort at Redhawk) are from the Northern Nevada Golf Association.
Johnson held a five-stroke lead after the first two days of play, posting back-to-back rounds of five-under-par 67. He closed out the victory after an even-par 72 in the finale.
“I came out and had a great start,” he said of his first two rounds. “I was able to stick to my plan which was to get to the green and get the putter in my hands as fast as I can.”
That game plan also included pin-point yardages. “I left myself a lot of shots between 110 and 140 yards and those are scoring wedges for me,” he said.
The final round, an even-par 72, wasn’t quite as impressive in his eyes.
“My game plan didn’t change at all,” he said. “But I just made a couple more mistakes than the first two days combined and those cost me a few strokes.”
Johnson, 30, graduated from Holy Names University in Oakland after playing there for two years and went on to work as an assistant coach at Holy Names while he got his masters in marketing.
He is now working at a couple of golf courses in Las Vegas as well as honing his skills as he hopes to take aim at making a living as a professional golfer.
“I think that’s on the radar for everyone at this level,” he said. “You’d like to get a shot to take it to the next level. I’d love to explore that avenue.”
And what does he feel he needs to work on the most to make that happen?
“I need experience on a bigger stage,” he said. “And I’ve also got to work on my consistency and string more good rounds together.”
But this week was all about defending his title.
“This one feels good,” he said. “It was outside of Vegas and I wanted the chance to defend and put up a good fight and I did that.”
2019 Nevada State Mid-Am
Daren Johnson, 67-67-72—206
Edward Fryatt, 70-69-74—213
Joshua Reagan, 73-73-78—224
Kevin Kitchell, 76-76-75–227