A Dumfries man, Johnston enjoyed a successful amateur career, winning titles on home soil as well as in South Africa. He saved the best for last, claiming both the Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship and African Amateur Championship in his final campaign in the non-paid ranks.
His Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship success came at Western Gailes, where he held off an on-form Matthew Jordan to claim the coveted title by two shots, having produced an equally impressive performance earlier in the season when coming out on top in the African Amateur at Leopard Creek.
Earlier in his amateur career, Johnston reached the final of the 2011 Scottish Boys Championship at Dunbar, losing to Troon Welbeck’s David Wilson in the first title showdown in that event to go to extra holes since Andrew Coltart won at the same venue in 1987.
Johnston, who played on the US college for four years as a student at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, made his professional debut in the 2017 Dunhill Links Championship, finishing joint-47th behind Tyrrell Hatton as the Englishman made it back-to-back wins in the pro-am tournament. Boosted by that effort, Johnston then won the Qualifying School for the Pro Golf Tour, one of Europe’s third-tier circuits.
He then got his 2018 campaign off to a flying start on that tour by winning the Open Prestigia in Morocco, finishing 3-3-3 to overcome a four-shot deficit with three holes to play to triumph on the Tony Jacklin-designed Prestigia Golf layout.
Johnston backed up that triumph by also becoming a winner on the Challenge Tour, beating compatriot and now stablemate Grant Forrest in the final in the Andalucia Costa del Sol Match Play 9.
He then became a double winner on the European Tour’s feeder circuit when posting rounds of 66-67-64-67 for a 24-under-par total and a two-shot victory in the Kazakhstan Open, effectively securing his step up to the main tour in the process. He finished tenth on the Challenge Tour money-list to graduate along with Forrest, Bob MacIntyre and David Law.
Also helping make 2018 a year to remember for Johnston was him joining forces with Connor Syme, Michele Thomson and Meghan MacLaren to win a silver medal in the inaugural European Golf Team Championships at Gleneagles.