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Kamaiu Johnson to make debut at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am after near tragedy

Kamaiu Johnson plays at an APGA event in 2020.
Kamaiu Johnson plays at an APGA event in 2020.

Kamaiu Johnson’s second chance to fulfill his PGA Tour dream is coming earlier than expected.

Forced to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago after his mother tested positive for COVID-19, Johnson was provided a sponsors exemption into next month’s The Honda Classic. Then came an invitation to play in this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

So Johnson high-tailed it to Monterey, Calif., last week to begin figuring out a pair of golf courses the 27-year-old had never laid eyes on before. His impression of Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill after a few rounds at each?

Kamaiu Johnson talks mother’s COVID-19 scare

“I told my buddy the other night, if God made golf courses, he definitely started here on this property with these great golf courses around here,” Johnson said Wednesday.

It has been a whirlwind few weeks for the Advocates Professional Golf Association Tour (APGA) player. A Farmers brand ambassador, Kamaiu Johnson was given a sponsors invite back in October to play at Torrey Pines.

Just days before he was set to make his PGA Tour debut, Johnson’s mother was rushed to the hospital with breathing issues. Her condition had improved by the day before the event, and fellow APGA player and good friend Willie Mack was able to take Johnson’s spot in the tournament.

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Kamaiu Johnson to make debut in AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Johnson’s near tragedy began to take a turn for the positive with the invite from The Honda Classic. Then came the invite from the AT&T.

“God had bigger plans for me,” Johnson said of being unable to represent Farmers at Torrey Pines. “But I’m just thrilled to be here, thrilled [at] all the support that I’m getting, the love that my family’s getting.

“It’s absolutely greatly appreciated from us. And I just love what the golfing world is doing right now. It’s amazing and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

Kamaiu Johnson will take his first official swing in a PGA Tour event when he tees off from the 10th hole at Spyglass Hill at 12:36 p.m. EST on Thursday with Roger Sloan and Nelson Ledesma.

“It’s very motivating to me, honestly, because this is where I want to be,” said Johnson, who played a practice round on Tuesday with Harold Varner III. “I don’t want to go back to the mini-tours. This is where I want to be. So it’s a big point that I take advantage of these opportunities that I’m getting on the PGA Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour because I don’t want to go back to the mini-tour.

“You get treated so well out here. I met numerous guys this week they have been absolutely amazing to me. And so, yeah, this is where I want to be. This is it right here and this is all I ever dreamed about and I’m just happy to be here.”

The Tallahassee, Fla. native has gone from eighth-grade dropout to playing in a PGA Tour event. The journey is certainly not lost on Johnson, who admitted having “that moment” when he took in the surroundings this week.

Then he looked at his new Titleist and Footjoy apparel and said, “I feel like I belong out here. I feel good.”

–Field Level Media