Ashlan Ramsey to turn pro

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Former Evans resident Ashlan Ramsey, a freshman on the Clemson women’s golf team, will turn pro after the college season, according to GolfWeek.com.

Ashlan Ramsey: GolfWeek has her listed as the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world.  Clemson Athletics
Clemson Athletics
Ashlan Ramsey: GolfWeek has her listed as the No. 1-ranked amateur in the world.

Ramsey, who now lives in Milledgeville, Ga., will turn pro after the Curtis Cup at St. Louis in June.

“I feel like I came into college with a very open mind,” the 18-year-old Ramsey said. “I tried to get off to a good start and have a good run at Clemson, but I kind of thought, my game isn’t exactly where it wanted to be. … I wasn’t accomplishing the things I wanted to.”

Ramsey didn’t realize how tough being a full-time student-athlete was going to be, she admitted.

Ramsey will participate in the team’s three remaining tournaments – the ACC Championship, the NCAA Regionals and the NCAA Championship.

In between the NCAA Regionals and NCAA Championship, she will play in the LPGA’s Kingsmill Championship on a sponsor exemption.

She will also play in the U.S. Women’s Open sectional qualifier May 29 at Carolina Trace Country Club’s Lake Course in Sanford, N.C.

Ramsey has six top 10s in nine starts for the Tigers in their inaugural season, including victories at the Lady’s Paladin and the Ruth Chris Tar Heel Invitational. She also has a 72.15 stroke average.

She struggled with her play early in the spring portion of the 2013-14 season after her and her coach Todd Anderson worked on a major swing change over Christmas break in Sea Island, Ga.

TIGER’S TIMELINE: Notah Begay doesn’t expect to see Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open. Woods had back surgery a week before the Masters Tournament to alleviate a pinched nerve and has said only he would be out of golf until this summer.

Begay is one of Woods’ closest friends, and he told CBS Radio on Monday that he was in contact with Woods during the Masters.

“He missed being at Augusta and certainly was watching the tournament,” Begay said. “I think he needs to give it a minimum of 90 days to make sure that scar tissue heals up appropriately and he doesn’t run the risk of reinjuring it. So that would push him past the U.S. Open.”

And that would mean a new No. 1 in the world golf ranking.

If neither Woods nor Adam Scott play again over the next month – a year ago, Scott took three weeks off – then enough points would come off Woods’ ledger that Scott would pass him after The Players Championship.

SPIETH CRACKS TOP 10: Jordan Spieth moved to No. 9 in the world with his runner-up finish in the Masters, making him the youngest American to be in the top 10. Spieth was 20 years, 8 months. Woods was 21 years, 4 months when he first cracked the top 10 by winning the 1997 Masters.

The youngest player in the top 10 was Sergio Garcia, who got there a week after turning 20 in January 2000.

Woods still holds the record as the youngest player to reach No. 1 (21 years, 5 months). Spieth would have to get to No. 1 by the end of the year to break that record.

THE KING: Golf Channel’s three-part documentary on Arnold Palmer got off to a big start. The network said Arnie was the most-watched original film in its 20-year history after the first of three installments.

The first part was shown Sunday night after the Masters and had 471,000 viewers, Golf Channel said citing Nielsen Fast Nationals. That was nearly double the number of viewers for War By The Shore, the film about the 1991 Ryder Cup that aired in September 2012.

BACK ON COURSE: Karen Stupples habitually waved to the cheering gallery two weeks ago in the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Only this time, the English player was working as an on-course announcer for Golf Channel and the cheers were for the players walking behind her on the 18th hole.

“Crossing the bridge, you have the gallery on the right and Poppie’s Pond on the left, and everybody is clapping,” Stupples said. “My gut instinct was to wave. So, that was weird.”

It won’t be weird this week in Hawaii when the 40-year-old Englishwoman returns to play in the LPGA LOTTE Championship. Her enthusiasm for the game recharged by her new broadcasting job, she’s making her first tour start since late August.

“I still love the game of golf,” Stupples said. “I thought I had lost that. I really did. A couple of years ago it was a real struggle for me to want to play golf or remembering why I loved it in the first place. Now, I’ve remembered why. It’s not about putting the score on the scorecard, but it turned into that.”

She did put some memorable numbers on scorecards 10 years ago when she won her two LPGA Tour titles. In the 2004 opener in Tucson, Ariz., she shot 63 in the first and fourth rounds and broke the tour’s 72-hole record with a 258 total. In the Women’s British Open at Sunningdale that summer, she began the final round eagle-double eagle en route to a 64 and a five-stroke victory.

“What appealed to me is that she is a major champion and also has been playing a full schedule on the LPGA Tour,” said Jack Graham, Golf Channel vice president of live tournaments. “She wanted to make the commitment to put in the work to learn the ropes in televised golf and is doing a very good job at that.”

Stupples won a Ladies European Tour event in 2009 in Wales and helped Europe win the 2011 Solheim Cup, but struggled to contend the last few years. Last season on the LPGA Tour, she made seven cuts in 18 starts and her season best was a tie for 38th.

“When I was playing poorly, I was worried about the score and the money and everything else,” Stupples said. “When I stopped having that worry because of the (TV) job, it enabled me to remember it’s about how I hit the ball, what I’m doing with the ball, how I’m maneuvering around the course <0x2014> the chess game that is golf.”

Following the top players and leaders as an announcer has helped her own game.

“You see that they make mistakes,” Stupples said. “It’s very easy to think that when you’re making mistakes back in the pack that you’re the only one making them. You think the leaders can’t possibly be making them. They’re making mistakes, too, but they’re just managing their games better.”

She first worked as a broadcaster on BBC’s radio coverage of the 2007 British Open.

“It was so much fun. I loved it,” Stupples said. “It was just great hanging out with everybody and talking golf, being in the discussion and debate in the media center. I thought, ‘This is something I would really love to try to get into.’”

She worked some more big events for the BBC and asked Golf Channel last year at the Hawaii event if she could follow lead on-course commentator Jerry Foltz.

“I put ears on and tailed him around and watched what he did,” Stupples said.

Then, after missing the cut in Toledo, Ohio, she got a full trial following top-ranked Inbee Park <0x2014> and nailed it.

“I got to do my first interview that week,” Stupples said. “That was the most nerve-wracking thing in my life. I’d always been the one being interviewed.”

The former Florida State player also has does studio work for Golf Channel.

“She’s an absolute natural,” Foltz said. “There’s an art to the job. It’s more than just calling golf shots.”

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