Chaska, Minn. (August 26, 2006) – After enduring a critical loss-of-hole penalty for the second consecutive day, Richie Ramsay, 23, of Aberdeen, is one victory away from becoming the first Scot in 108 years to win the U.S. Amateur Championship. Scots Findlay Douglas, in 1898, and H.J. Whigham, in 1896 and 1897, won the Amateur.
The last Scot to win a USGA championship was Tommy Armour, who won the 1927 U.S. Open at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club.
In Saturday’s semifinal round, Ramsay overcame a loss-of-hole penalty for grounding his club in a hazard on the par-4 16th hole to defeat Webb Simpson of Raleigh, N.C., 1 up. In Friday’s quarterfinal with a 1-up lead, Ramsay lost the par-3 17th hole when his caddie touched his line of putt with a finger. He won that match in 21 holes.
Ramsay meets John Kelly, 21, of St. Louis, Mo., a 2-and-1 winner over Canadian Ryan Yip, in Sunday’s 36-hole match play final at Hazeltine National Golf Club. The 7,473–yard layout has hosted the two U.S. Opens (1970 and 1991) and the 2002 PGA Championship.
Against Simpson, 21, the 2006 Sunnehanna Amateur winner, Ramsay took a 2-up lead through nine holes and moved it to 3 up with a birdie on the par-5 11th. Simpson, the Wake Forest senior, birdied the 14th to cut Ramsay’s lead to one hole but the Scot followed with a winning birdie of his own on the 15th to take his lead to 2 up.
On the 16th, Ramsey, the 2005 Irish Amateur Stroke Play champion who attends Stirling University in Scotland, grounded his 7-iron in the hazard and was assessed the loss-of-hole penalty which cut his lead to 1 up.
‘He's got to beat me over the last two holes,” Ramsay said. “I know what I can do. I know the shots that I've got in the bag and I wasn't making any mistakes.”
The 17th hole was halved with par and so was the 18th with bogey for Ramsay’s margin of victory.
“If you go out there and you win titles, titles talk and good scores talk,” Ramsay said.
Through nine holes the Kelly-Yip match was all square. But, Kelly, a senior at the University of Missouri, took the lead for good with a birdie on the downhill par-4 10th hole. He increased his lead to 2 up when two-time quarterfinalist Yip, of Calgary, Alberta, bogeyed the 12th. The remaining five holes were halved and Kelly had a date with Ramsay.
“I kept trying to tell myself that I'm a good enough player to be here, and I believed it,” said the 2006 Missouri Stroke Play champion, who was buoyed by the support of his college teammates who arrived in time for the morning match. “I don't know, maybe everybody else didn't, but as long as I'm believing that I can play for the trophy, that's great.’
Each of the finalists, in addition to an exemption to the 2007 Amateur, earns a spot in the next U.S. Open, British Open, and a likely invitation to the 2007 Masters Tournament.
The Amateur is the oldest of the 13 national championships conducted by the United States Golf Association, and notable Amateur winners include Tiger Woods, Bob Jones, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus.
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Chaska, Minn. – Results of Saturday’s semifinal round of match play at the 2006 U.S. Amateur, conducted by the United States Golf Association, played at Hazeltine National Golf Club (7,473 yards, par 72)
John Kelly (145), St. Louis, Mo. d. Ryan Yip (143), Canada, 2 and 1
Richie Ramsay (144), Scotland d. Webb Simpson (143), Raleigh, N.C., 1 up
Pairing for Sunday’s 36-hole final round of match play (Time CDT):
8:00 a.m. – John Kelly (145) St. Louis, Mo. vs. Richie Ramsay (144), Scotland