Junior Heritage winners break out of pack

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Junior Heritage winners break out of pack

By STEPHEN FASTENAU
sfastenau@beaufortgazette.com
Published Monday, February 6, 2012   |  1047 Words  |  

Chase Koepka delivered a short message to friend Ashlan Ramsey before both teed off in the final round of the Junior Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.

"See you in the winner's circle," he told her.

Each were three shots back to start Sunday. But each found a different way to hold the champion's crystal lighthouse by the time the sun was low.

Koepka, from Lake Worth, Fla., captured the boys title with a par on the first playoff hole, beating out Benjamin Griffin and Hank Lebioda. Ramsey won the girls division, finishing 3-over for the tournament after trailing leader Bryana Nguyen by six shots with 10 holes to play.

"I told her this morning, 'Let's go out there and do it," said Koepka, who has signed to play golf at the University of South Florida. "It just happened to be coincidence we ended up shooting the same exact scores and winning."

Koepka overcame a bogey on No. 17 to par the difficult 18th and secure a spot in the playoff at 3 over. In the playoff, at the par-4 first hole, his drive found the right side of the fairway while Griffin and Lebioda both drove left, a dead zone with the way the hole was designed.

A 9-iron to four feet was all Koepka needed to win, even when he missed the birdie putt.

When Ramsey was on No. 17, her eighth hole, someone told her of the cushion Nguyen enjoyed. Ramsey doesn't like updates and instructs her mom not to tell her where she stands during a round. And so after No. 17, Ramsey didn't hear anything else until finishing her round on No. 9, when she learned she had won. Nguyen made double bogey on No. 18, her ninth hole, and shot 45 on the front side to fall out of contention.

Ramsey shot a steady 35 on her final nine to win by two shots.

"I figured that she would keep playing solid as she had been," Ramsey said. "I got off to a bad start and wasn't playing the way I wanted to. At the turn, something clicked and I started hitting the ball better."

Koepka's victory earned him a spot in the Players Amateur, which will be held this summer at Berkeley Hall. The exemption means Koepka might have the chance to compete in the tournament alongside his brother, Brooks, a senior at Florida State who has competed at the Players Am in past years.

Chase is going to South Florida in part because of Bulls coach Chris Malloy, who as an assistant at Florida State recruited Brooks. Chase said he trusted Malloy with the development of his game.

Ramsey's college decision also has a family tie. Older sister Taylor signed with Clemson and Ashlan, a high school junior from Milledgeville, Ga., committed the same day.

For Koepka, Sunday's finish marked his final junior tournament. Ramsey, who competed last year on the Junior Solheim Cup team, said she will continue to seek out American Junior Golf Association events.

And the pair, who met through golf a year ago, said they will remain in touch, though they don't see each other often. After the round, each took to Twitter to congratulate the other.

"It was fun," Koepka said.

2012 JUNIOR HERITAGE

Final round at Harbour Town Golf Links

Boys

x-won in playoff

x-Chase Koepka 74-72-- 146

Benjamin Griffin 75-71--146

Hank Lebioda 72-74--146

Zacheng Dou 71-76--147

Matt Cheng 73-75--148

Sawyer Shaw 75-73--148

Joshua Martin 75-73--148

Aaron Terrazas 78-71--149

Ewen Ferguson 76-75--151

Robert Geibel 77-74--151

Richard Hubbard 71-80--151

Zack Jaworski 72-79--151

Chad Merzbacher 74-77--151

William Starke 74-77--151

Harrison Shih 78-74--152

Ben Balter 78-75--153

Daniel Chian 78-75--153

Maclain Huge 73-80--153

Will Blalock 76-77--153

Jake Knapp 74-79--153

John Voetsch 78-75--153

Drew Johnson 75-79--154

Jared Carver 77-78--155

Prem Samritpricha 80-75--155

Keagan Cummings 80-75--155

Kyle Kochevar 78-78--156

Juan Yumar 78-79--157

William Register 78-80--158

Austin LAngdale 78-80--158

Ben Dietrich 74-85--159

Theo Humphrey 85-74--159

Jackson Moore 80-79--159

Andrea DeBono 75-84--159

Davis Womble 79-82--161

Andrew Whalen 81-80--161

Blake Cannon 85-77--162

Ryann Ree 85-77--162

Stuart Thomas 81-82--163

Derek Bard 78-85--163

William Rainey 82-81--163

Johan Werge 80-88--168

Andrew Morgan 84-87--171

Mattew Gerard 95-84--179

Girls

Ashlan Ramsey 74-72--146

Clementina Rodriguez 75-73--148

Mika Liu 76-72--148

Sierra Brooks 74-75--149

Bryanna Nguyen 71-78--149

Yu Liu 79-73--152

Cindy Feng 74-78--152

Ana Ruiz 78-75--153

Kaitlyn Dambaugh 77-76--153

Cindy Ha 73-81--154

Sierra Sims 80-75--155

Elyse Smidinger 77-78--155

Mariana Sims 80-77--157

McKenzie Talbert 78-79--157

Jessica Hoang 78-80--158

Lauren Stephenson 77-81--158

Emily Campbell 78-81--159

Rinko Mitsunaga 75-85--160

Ayaka Nakayama 83-77--160

Robynn Ree 79-82--161

Sarah Harris 85-76--161

Moyu Sasaki 78-83--161

Kelli Murphy 81-80--161

Michaela Owen 83-80--163

Victoria Allred 81-81--163

Lakareber Abe 78-86--164

Laura Restrepo 78-87--165

Taylor Totland 86-79-- 165

Yvonne Zheng 83-83--166

Kelly Grassel 81-86--167

Stephanie Liu 83-87--170

Amira Alexander 87-88--175

Jessica Rouillard 88-93--181