Neshanic Station, N.J. — Ashlan Ramsey is nicknamed “The Silent Assassin.”
While that is hardly the image portrayed by the blonde-haired, pony-tailed 16-year-old from Milledgeville, Ga., Ramsey’s stealth-like advancement through the 36th U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship’s match-play bracket is giving further credence to the moniker.
On a steamy Thursday morning at Neshanic Valley Golf Course when the three 2012 USA Curtis Cup members were ousted in the second round, Ramsey eliminated fellow Georgian Emilie Burger, 21, of Hoscton, 4 and 3.
“It was a pretty solid day, hit a lot of fairways and greens, and made some really good putts. I can’t really complain,” said Ramsey, a rising senior at John Milledge Academy.
Ramsey birdied the 503-yard, par-4 fourth hole to take a 1-up lead that she never relinquished. Ramsey won the 295-yard, par-4 seventh with a birdie and the 365-yard, par-4 eighth with par to take a 3-up lead to the second nine.
Ramsey went 4 up with a par on the 377-yard, par-4 13th hole, but then lost her first hole with a bogey at the 533-yard, par-514th. Ramsey closed out the match with a textbook par on the 361-yard, par-4 15th.
“I like this course, I think its sets up pretty well for me,” said Ramsey of the Dr. Michael Hurdzan design. “I like the shots into the greens, and when you’re striking the ball well, that helps obviously.”
Ramsey, who reached the match play rounds of her previous two USGA championship appearances – the 2011 WAPL and Girls’ Junior – believes her game is in good form. Last week, Ramsey finished sixth at the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Girls Junior Championship at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., closing with a 3-under 69.
Though Ramsey has not compiled the lengthy amateur and collegiate résumés as many others in the field, she is nonplussed by the quality of these USGA fields.
“I know there are a lot of college players in these fields, but a lot of the girls I play against in the AJGA I feel are just as good,” said Ramsey. “I really just try to play my game and not worry about the competition.”
There lies part of the backstory to Ramsey’s nickname.
Ramsey describes herself as both quiet and shy, and when she was younger her local club pro took notice of the traits. Given her talent, “The Silent Assassin” nickname seemed appropriate.
In addition to her relatively impressive USGA championship finishes – she reached the quarterfinals of last year’s Girls’ Junior -- Ramsey won the Georgia PGA Junior Championship earlier this year and has six other top five AJGA finishes since 2010.
Along the way, her performance caught the attention of J.T. Horton, who has been entrusted with starting Clemson University’s women’s golf program. Horton signed Ramsey and her older sister, Taylor, to be part of the Tigers’ first team, which debuts in 2013.
“Starting a new program is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Ramsey.
So is winning a USGA title, which Ramsey quietly has her eye on.
Stuart Hall is a North Carolina-based freelance writer whose work has appeared previously on USGA championship websites.