Ashlan Ramsey’s day began with tears and severe pain but ended with smiles and a championship title.
Ramsey woke up ready to take on Jenna Hague for the championship title in the Women’s Western Golf Association 113th National Amateur Championship at the Dayton Country Club. Moments later, however, the 17-year-old Georgia golfer was wondering if she could even swing a club.
“I went to pop my neck but it didn’t pop,” Ramsey said. “Next thing I knew, everything from my neck to my fingers was tingling.”
Ramsey, currently ranked No. 2 among amateur women by Golfweek magazine, was crying when she called her mom.
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to play,” she said.
Tournament officials delayed the start of the match by 15 minutes for Ramsey but, even after hitting 20 balls to warm-up, she still had some serious doubts and her neck pain had not subsided.
“I called my dad and told him I’d try and that I’d talk to him soon,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d make it more than a few holes.”
Ramsey thought wrong as she clinched the title after 30 holes Saturday by defeating Hague, of Burlington, Ontario, 7 and 6, in the championship flight final.
“It loosened up a little bit while we were playing but it never stopped hurting,” Ramsey said.
The champion’s swing had a different look on Saturday as she had to make several adjustments to her game. Taking an early lead, including posting birdies on three of the first seven holes, did manage to boost Ramsey’s wavering confidence. The incoming Clemson freshman was 4 up after 18 holes and led by 8 after the 10th.
“Doing well on the first three holes helped me not be as freaked out,” she said.
While Hague, a Ball State University junior, was disappointed in several of her shots Saturday, she was pleased with her overall performance during the six-day tournament. From a field of 144 golfers from 28 states and six countries, Hague, 19, was one of only two who were still on the course on Saturday.
“Coming into it, I just wanted to try to put two good rounds together to get to match play,” Hague said.
While Hague was able to outdrive Ramsey on several holes Saturday, she struggled on the greens.
“The difference between Friday and Saturday was my putting, for sure,” Hague said. “I was on defense for a lot of my putts today. And to Ashlan’s credit, she made her putts when she needed to.”