OSU golfer Vincent Johnson won the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship — and successfully battled Graves’ disease— this past year.

Vincent Johnson battled Graves' disease recently
Vincent Johnson battled Graves' disease recently

OSU junior Vincent Johnson was excited when he qualified for the 2007 PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship this past May.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to play in a tournament that provides opportunities for minority college golfers,” he said before the tournament. “It means a lot to represent OSU. Oregon State has provided so much for me that when I put on my OSU gear, I want to go out and show what the school is all about.”

He represented himself and the university very well. The tournament had its largest field ever, featuring 180 golfers from 38 different colleges.
Johnson took on that field for 54 holes at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and he came away with the victory — by a whopping 12 strokes.

A business major from Portland, Johnson hit every green on the front nine of the last round in regulation, finishing with five birdies and only one bogey on his way to a 4-under-par 68 that gave him a 210 for the tournament.

“It meant a lot, being the only guy there from Oregon State,” Johnson said. “I felt like I was also representing the West Coast. It was fun to travel all the way there and represent my school as best I could. I got some comments about how I carried myself well and that I did represent my school well, so that really meant a lot to me.”

While 2006-07 ended well, it didn’t get off to a very good start.

He missed most of the fall season while dealing with Graves’ disease, a type of autoimmune disease that causes over-activity of the thyroid gland, but he has since made nearly a full recovery. He was able to compete in all of OSU’s spring tournaments, shooting an average of less than 73 per round, ranking him fifth on OSU’s single-season stroke average list.

Johnson, who enjoys playing the piano and video games during his free time, is an excellent student as well as an outstanding golfer. He recognizes that he has a chance to become a professional golfer, but that’s not his primary focus right now.

“As a student-athlete, the student comes first,” he says. “Whether I’m going to be a professional golfer or not, the education is the most important thing to come out of here with.”

OSU men’s golf Web site

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