Love's son, Taylor Ramsey claim titles

Son of PGA Tour pro wins in his first AJGA appearance

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Dru Love was being asked to prepare a victory speech, and this was all so new to him.

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Dru Love blasts from the bunker on the par-3 17th hole at West Lake Country Club. He made the putt for par en route to victory.   Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
Dru Love blasts from the bunker on the par-3 17th hole at West Lake Country Club. He made the putt for par en route to victory.

More than 15 minutes after he had captured his first American Junior Golf Association crown, he had yet to call his father, 20-time PGA Tour winner Davis Love III.

"Not yet -- he's playing," Love said of his father, who is competing in the John Deere Classic in Illinois.

Dru Love will have plenty of time to remember the details of his triumph. He survived a tremendous shot-making duel with Greenbrier senior Cody Shafer to win the boys division of the Charles Howell III Junior Championship by three shots Friday.

Love, who will be a junior this fall at Frederica Academy on St. Simons Island, Ga., concluded the three-round stroke-play event at West Lake Country Club with four pars in a row to win his first AJGA start with a 5-under-par 211 total.

Former Columbia County resident Taylor Ramsey came from two shots down at the turn to outpace younger sister Ashlan and win the girls division. She had a final-round 73 to win by a shot after finishing second a year ago. Taylor Ramsey, who finished at 3-under for the tournament, led the girls division after every round.

Brant Patton, a recent Lakeside graduate who led the boys tournament for almost half of the first round, closed with 71 to finish in a three-way tie for fourth. Greenbrier's Robert Robertson shot 71 and tied for seventh and Richmond Academy's Greyson Sigg (17th) also had 71 to close strong.

With his father at the John Deere Classic, where he is tied for 37th after two rounds, Dru Love still had plenty of company at West Lake: his mother, Robin, his grandfather and a cousin walked the course. Love said he had played Augusta National a couple of months back, shooting 5-over on the second nine on his way to 77. He was much more consistent during this round.

Love and Shafer began the day tied for the lead, with playing partner Trey Valentine, of Melbourne, Fla., alone in third one shot back. Everyone in the final threesome went out in even-par 36, but by the time they reached the par-3 13th, it was clear the title would come down to either Shafer or Love. This is when Love played his two most important holes.

He made a fantastic up-and-down bogey 5 from behind the 13th green -- Love's 3-iron tee shot came to rest under a bush; he took an unplayable lie. He then rolled in an uphill 20-foot birdie on the par-4 14th with Shafer's ball inside his.

Shafer made four consecutive pars before hitting an 8-iron into the water on the par-3 17th, including three consecutive great looks at birdie. He finished with 74.

"He played great all day, just couldn't get his putts to fall," Love said. "He hit it 5 feet, 10 feet, 15 feet all day long."

Said Shafer, "I hit the ball really good. ... I couldn't get the right speed on my putts."

Love made another tough up-and-down from the greenside bunker at 17 to lead by three shots going into the final hole.

"My left foot was halfway in, halfway out, and my right foot was all the way out," he said. "For me, that was a great shot under that pressure. You can't help thinking you're in the lead."

Taylor Ramsey made par out of a bunker on No. 10, then tallied consecutive birdies, including a 25-footer on the par-4 12th.

"That was kind of the turning point of my round, when all the adrenaline started going," she said.

Taylor Ramsey went ahead outright on No. 17 when Ashlan Ramsey made bogey. She was paired with her sister and North Augusta's Jessica Hoang, who shot 76 to finish third, 10 shots behind Ashlan Ramsey.

Both Ramsey sisters began the final round at least seven shots ahead of everyone else, setting up a fiercely competitive final round. But not a talkative one.

"When we needed to say stuff, we said it," Taylor Ramsey said. "If there wasn't really a need to say anything, then we kind of kept our mouths shut and stayed focus."

She added, laughing, "I've played with her before, and she doesn't like me to talk to her."

Top finishers

BOYS DIVISION

Dru Love 71-69-71--211

Cody Shafer 72-68-74--214

Scott Scheffler 73-70-72--215

Zach Botts 69-74-73--216

Trey Valentine 69-72-75--216

Brant Patton 71-74-71--216

GIRLS DIVISION

Taylor Ramsey 69-71-73--213

A. Ramsey 71-70-73--214

Jessica Hoang 73-75-76--224

Rachel Dai 78-71-76--225

M. Owen 73-77-75--225

K. Swindell 75-76-76--227

R. Mitsunaga 78-70-79--227

Emily Kurey 74-78-75--227


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