Vincent Johnson has been all over the map.
Growing up in Portland, he won 60 junior golf tournaments and had a college career at Oregon State University.
He has played in one of the PGA Tour’s premier stops — the Northern Trust Open — and has been a contestant on the Golf Channel’s popular reality television show, “Big Break: Disney.”
This week, Johnson is trying to win the 90th Washington Open Invitational in his first attempt.
In fact, he hadn't even seen Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent until he teed off Monday morning. But with six front-nine birdies, the teaching professional at the Golf in the Pearl shot a 5-under-par 67 in the first round to share the overnight lead with Spokane’s Corey Prugh.
“I also had a couple of guys, (club pros) Brad Hunter and Brian Nosler, who talked about the course,” Johnson said. “So, I wasn’t completely in the dark. That definitely helped.”
Johnson chipped in from behind the green at the first hole for birdie. After he gave the stroke back with a bogey at No. 2, Johnson stuck it close to the pin on the next three holes for easy birdies.
He has been a swing instructor at Golf in the Pearl in Portland since December.
“I really, really enjoy it,” the 30-year-old Johnson said. “But I still dream of playing the (PGA Tour). I just have taken a different avenue.”
Erik Hanson, the former Mariners’ pitcher and amateur out of Sahalee Country Club, shot a 68 to sit in third place. He birdied his first two holes.
Sumner’s Brian Thornton (Meridian Valley), Lakewood’s Chris Griffin (Tacoma C&GC) and Kent’s Josh Immordino (Riverbend — all former Washington Open winners — are in a group tied for fourth at 69.
Defending champion Darren Black, out of Rainier Golf and Country Club, is in a big pack at 72.
T1. Vincent Johnson, Golf in the Pearl
T1. Corey Prugh, Manito G&CC
3. Erik Hanson, Sahalee CC
T4. Josh Immordino, Riverbend Golf Complex
T4. Brian Thornton, Meridian Valley CC
T4. Chris Griffin, Tacoma C&GC