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Johanson wins 11th Geneva Club Championship

Jason Johanson putts toward the hole during the Geneva Club Championship match last Sunday. Johanson won 2-1 over Collin Modahl for his 11th championship. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Jason Johanson added to his large collection of Geneva Club Championships last Sunday with a 2-1 win over Collin Modahl on a blustery September afternoon.

Modahl was within striking distance through the entire championship match on Sunday, but he could not keep the veteran golfer from adding to his title collection. The win was Johanson's 11th in his career at the Geneva Golf Club.

After the round, he said he did not know if he was capable of earning another title after winning his 10th.

"It feels great," Johanson said. "I didn't know if I would do it again."

Johanson shot even par through 17 holes in the championship, and said his performance was one of the better ones he had in a while.

"I played the best I've played in a long time, and it was a great time to do it, too," Johanson said.

The championship match was close through the entire round on Sunday. Johanson held a one-up lead after completing the first nine on the Marsh course. But Modahl evened the match on the Ponds course No. 2. Johanson responded with birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 to gain a two-up lead he would not surrender.

Modahl tried to make his comeback at the par-four No. 5. There Johanson hit a shot off the tee that hit a rock at the edge of a water hazard and bounced into the water. Amazingly, Modahl struck nearly the identical location and his tee shot bounced onto the fairway. He took advantage and moved within one-up of Johanson on the hole.

But a birdie on the par-3 No. 7 gave Johanson a two-up advantage, and pars on No. 8 for both golfers ended the championship.

Although he lost the championship match, Modahl felt good about his game on Sunday.

"I played pretty well," Modahl said. "I had a tough time getting my irons and wedges close to the hole, but I putted well and drove the ball well."

In a match against a golfer who is almost guaranteed to shoot par in a round, Modahl said he was under pressure to strike the ball close to the hole and have chances for some birdies.

"Jason is so consistent, he puts so much pressure on you to make birdies," Modahl said. "You're not going to win many holes with pars. So you try to force the issue a little bit and you get in trouble and he kind of takes over. He is a great player."

Modahl, who also plays amateur baseball with the Brandon-Evansville Bluedogs, said this was his first time playing in a club championship type event. He plans to work on having another shot to compete in the future.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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