April 15, 2003
COLUMBIA, S.C.- For Gamecock Eirik Johansen the challenges of being a freshman in a new country and a new school haven’t phased him. So far this season, Johansen has continued the success he was having during his high school years. The Stavanger, Norway native accomplished a successful career in his homeland where he won three Norwegian National Boys Championships and the 1999 Junior Master. Playing for Coach Blackmon and being apart of the Gamecock men’s golf program were driving forces behind Johansen attending USC.
Through his first ten tournaments of the season, Johansen has been one of the most impressive freshman performers in the Southeastern Conference and in the nation. His two Top 5 and eight Top 20 finishes are tops in the SEC ahead of Florida’s James Vargas and Georgia’s Kevin Kisner.
“I had some ups and downs at the beginning due to getting use to playing college golf and go going to school in a different environment,” commented Eirik Johansen. ” In the spring I have played pretty steady. I have been look for a low round score and I accomplished that in the last tournament against a strong field.”
Johansen is also making waves on the national scene. Golf Week has Johansen ranked No. 42 in country, the sixth highest ranking for a freshman. He is tied with Baylor’s Ryan Baca for the most Top 10 and Top 20 finishes for all freshman in the Golf Week Ratings.
Johansen leads the Gamecocks with a 72.27 stroke average. Don’t look for Johansen to slow down anytime soon, his 4th place finish at last weekend’s Cleveland Golf-ASU Invitational was his lowest three-round score of his young collegiate career, 11-under-par 205, which also included his lowest single round score of 65. The experience he has gained and the experience he has attained in his first season at South Carolina will be a great benefit to the men’s golf program for the years to come.
“Coach Puggy Blackmon has helped me a lot,” stated Johansen. ” He has taught me to free up my game more and to play golf instead of trying to play golf. He has helped me to become more athletic and has given me a lot of advice that has impacted my golf game.”
Johansen’s next challenge will be at the SEC Championships. The Gamecocks will compete at the SEC Championships held at St. Simmons Island, Ga. on April 25-27.