Ramseys among top four

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The groupings made it easy for the Ramsey sisters to track each other’s progress today.

Taylor Ramsey played in the first girls group off at the Charles Howell III Junior Championship at West Lake Country Club. Younger sister Ashlan teed off in the group behind.

As the sisters worked around their home course, they shared quick conversation while walking up parallel fairways or while waiting at tee and green.

Ashlan watched Taylor roll in five birdies and finish at 1-under with 72. Taylor will start Wednesday in second, four shots behind Arizona native Anna Kim.

“I had some stupid bogeys, but I think I played pretty good,” Taylor said.

Ashlan was two shots back of her sister and tied for fourth after 74, which was 1-over on the layout that plays to par-73 for the girls.

The sisters have been in a similar position before. They traded leads at an AJGA event in April, paired together for the final round during which Ashlan, 13, beat out Taylor, 14, by a shot.

Three were tied for the boys lead after firing 69 in the opening round.

Among the area golfers in contention are William Sigg, Cody Shafer and Emmanuel Kountakis. Each shot even-par 72.

Like the Ramseys, Kountakis also enjoys a home-course advantage, though he said it was all but negated by the strength of the field.

One area that lent itself to local knowledge was the unique grain of the greens, which makes reading putts tricky for those unaccustomed.

“These greens have more grain than what they might normally play,” said Kountakis, 14, who will be a freshman at Lakeside High in the fall.

Said Taylor: “You really have to watch the grain. I don’t think many people know that.”

Sigg, who will be a senior at Richmond Academy in the fall, said the course was playing soft and predicted someone in the later groups would post a lower number.

But 69, shot by Blake Soni in the third group and later matched by Carl Jonson and Zi Ti Wang, proved a solid number on the first day.

Mississippian Chad Bounds, who opened with 64 in this tournament last year and eventually finished second, had 74. Ex-Westside golfer Dykes Harbin, who will play at South Carolina, birdied the 17th to salvage 74.

Reach Stephen Fastenau at (706) 863-6165, ext. 116

or stephen.fastenau@augustachronicle.com.


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