Georgian Ashlan Ramsey poised for LPGA success

Ashlan Ramsey seemed to have her path to the LPGA all figured out.

Ramsey, the No. 1-ranked female amateur in the world in 2014, signed with Clemson and spent one season playing college golf before opting to become a professional. She was poised and ready to become the next Annika Sorenstam.

That’s where the path took an unexpected turn.

A series of frustrating injuries in 2015 put her on the sidelines and limited her practice schedule. She couldn’t compete. She had to take odd jobs and try to raise money online to fund her travel and tournament entry fees. She had to work her way back through the developmental Symetra Tour before earning an LPGA exemption in the fall.

Ramsey now considers the travails to be a blessing, although it didn’t seem so at the time.

“I learned a lot my first year,” she said. “I probably would have had a rude awakening if I’d gotten to the LPGA after my first year.”

It all came so easily for Ramsey when growing up in Milledgeville. As a kid, Ramsey decided she would rather play tennis and leave the golf to older sister Taylor. But after seeing her sister, now a senior on the Clemson golf team, bring a trail of trophies and medals home, Ashlan decided to return to golf and focus her attention there.

Ramsey progressed through the junior ranks and had her breakout year in 2012. She was runner-up at the U.S. Public Links Championship in 2012, won two tournaments at Clemson in 2013-14, earned her way on to the 2014 U.S. Curtis Cup team and was ranked as the No. 1 amateur player in the world.

That’s when she decided it was time to play for keeps. Her decision to leave school after one season raised a few eyebrows, but it’s a move she still defends.

“I had given myself a timeline, and I knew it would be a process and there were things I’d have to learn,” she said “Leaving school was a huge part of my decision. I knew the first year would be a bumpy road. I had to figure out the obstacle that I’d have to jump and prepare myself for the LPGA.”

Turns out the road was bumpier than she thought. She failed to advance from the LPGA qualifying school and was unable to play for nearly three months because of inflamed nerves in her back caused by overwork. She was stuck in limbo.

While she was sidelined, Ramsey found a new instructor in Kevin Britt of Greenville, S.C., who helped her begin the process of fixing her swing. Never the longest off the tee, Ramsey is a fairway-finding machine and possesses a killer short game. Late last spring it all began to click again for her.

She was able to win the Georgia Women’s Open, earn status on the Symetra Tour, make the cut in 10 events, pocket a few bucks and regain confidence in her game.

She got past the final hurdle when the tied for eighth at the final stage of the LPGA qualifier to earn exempt status. Her family surprised her by showing up and celebrating at the 18th green — after she finished and had officially made it.

“There was definitely some criticism when I left Clemson,” Ramsey said. “But I’ve never been one who cares what other people are saying. It has renewed by faith in God and opened my eyes to the fact that everything isn’t perfect and is not going to be perfect. It definitely helped me as a person.”

Now 20, Ramsey has a management team, a string of endorsements and a clear path to achieve her goals when the LPGA begins its season Jan. 28 in the Bahamas. Affable, approachable and photogenic, she appears to be in a good place to become Georgia’s first successful LPGA player in years.

“I can’t wait to get started,” she said.