Local golfer Riley Johnson turning pro

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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -- You can find Riley Johnson on one of the area golf courses nearly every single day.

"Ever since I was a young kid I've always wanted to be pro," Johnson said of his dream job. "I saw the guys at the North Dakota Open and I idolized them."

An August graduate of the University of Minnesota, Johnson now embarks on conquering his next dream.

"My experience through college has shown that I do have the game to make it," said Johnson.

He graduated from West Fargo a two-time class A state champion and would rise to co-captain the Gophers men's team his senior season.

His time in Minneapolis built confidence and consistency throughout his game but it's the short game he says you'll see his biggest growth.

"My putting has gotten a lot better," Johnson explained. "My three putt avoidance has gotten a lot better and that all adds up. Just the consistency through all the facets of my game has gotten a lot better."

Another major factor Johnson says he continues to work on is the mental side of the game, working with a coach this summer to conquer some of the highs and lows that come through a round of golf.

It's all come together to prepare him for that next step, in turning pro. A step he takes this weekend at the Bobcat Open.

"Ever since I can remember I've been going to that tournament and playing that par three tournament with all the pro's. Literally idolizing them."

On Friday Johnson no longer idolizes those teeing off at the Fargo Country Club.

Instead he will walk alongside time. In hopes of following in the footsteps of those that came before him.

"Just seeing Tom [Hoge] do so well on the PGA tour gets my hopes up. Because he's from Fargo and so am I and same with Amy [Olson]. She's had an awesome year."

This weekend isn't about getting his feet wet though, he won't aim to hang with the big dogs.

Johnson is expecting to compete with a paycheck on the line.