Tuesday, 05 February 2019
Andrew Johnston (Golf Australia) ()
Andrew Johnston (Golf Australia) ()

Andrew Johnston believes he is close to returning to his best as he tees up at the ISPS Handa Vic Open for the first time in Melbourne.

The Englishman, affectionately known as 'Beef', has good memories in Australia, recording his last top-ten finish at the Australian PGA Championship on the Gold Coast in December and comes in on the back of a tied for 24th at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic last month.

ISPS Handa Vic Open was first played in 1957 but will appear on the Race to Dubai for the first time at the 13th Beach Golf Club, where 156 men and 156 women play on the same courses and for equal prize money.

Groups will alternate between men and women on the Beach Course and Creek Course, with all 312 players set to play a round on each course during the first two days. There will be a cut after round two and round three before the final day is played on the Beach Course.

I don't think I'm that far away from playing some really good golf - Andrew 'Beef' Johnston

Johnston has failed to add to his maiden European Tour title win at the Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation in April 2016, but the 29 year old feels he is not too far away from that winning form.

"It's been good," Johnston said. "I played well in Dubai. It's been a while since I felt like the Saturday when I shot seven under, been a while since I felt like that on a golf course. 

"I feel like I'm close to getting back. I think it's been a funny couple of years for me. 2016 was great, I played some good golf. Then the last couple of years I haven't been happy with the way I've played. 

"I've made quite a lot of changes swing-wise, so yeah, it's all real positive. I'm in a good place. I have a new coach (Hugh Marr), and I find that's been working well and I don't think I'm that far away from playing some really good golf."

Spectators are not roped off like at other events and can get within close proximity to the players and interact with their idols, which is something Johnston is relishing at the 13th Beach Golf Club.

"I like to see people having a good time," Johnston added. "So, it's nice - they give the love and hopefully I can produce some good golf and give the love back that way.

"It's good for the spectators to get close, like maybe, get some information. Because it's interesting when you hear a player talk to the caddie or vice versa, what we're thinking sometimes and what they're doing. 

"They can get a bit close and realise what we're actually doing; we're not just walking aimlessly throwing grass in the air.

"It's a real good place for me and I enjoy it. I've been to Perth four or five times now and last year was the first time headed over to the other side in Brisbane, which was great. 

"Obviously now coming down here to Melbourne, it’s great. I've always enjoyed coming to Australia."

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