Ramos’ summer hints at vast potential
While most Arizona students were graciously embracing the leisure of summer, women’s golf senior leader Margarita Ramos was competing in one of the premier tournaments of her craft. Ramos participated in the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at the East Golf Course at The Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs, Colo., one of the major championships in the LPGA Tour.
“When I first got (to the U.S. Open), I was very nervous. It was a feeling that I couldn’t explain; I still can’t explain how I felt,” Ramos said. “It was just such a privilege and such an honor for me to be able to be a part of that huge tournament. That’s what I work for.”
Unfortunately for Ramos, the broad, spacious fairways and elongated greens of the Broadmoor East Course, the longest course in Women’s U.S. Open history, proved too much for the Wildcat senior. She failed to make the cut with a score of 164 ( 22) after two rounds.
“I didn’t really have that high of expectations going into (the U.S. Open),” Ramos said. “I knew it was going to be very different from any tournament I’ve ever played. Just being there was part of my experience, seeing what I need to improve.” Ramos added. “Even though I didn’t do as well as I wanted, it still was a good tournament for me to be a part of.”
However, one advantage of being involved in a prestigious competition such as this is the opportunity to be surrounded by the elite athletes of the given sport. By simply being immersed in a professional environment, Ramos had the chance to acquire a wealth of knowledge and experience to better her game.
“It was great to just be around the best players in the world and practice with them,” Ramos said.
Yet Ramos had an even more enriching opportunity than simply being around the best. She had the fortune of practicing and conversing with the eventual champion of the tournament, So Yeon Ryu, during a practice round.
“(Ryu) was very nice to me,” said Ramos, whose hometown is Mexico City. “She told me that she was a student as well, and she’s from Korea. We had a lot of similarities … The things that I do (well) and she does (well) are not that far apart.”
While the final tournament results may have been vastly different between the two 21-year-old college students, Ramos hopes to close that gap in the future and mirror Ryu in professional accolades as well.
“Ramos is a player who strives to play professionally when she gets done with college golf,” said Arizona women’s golf head coach Laura Ianello, who traveled to Colorado to watch Ramos play. “I think the U.S. Open was just a great eye-opener for her of how good the best female golfers in the world are and what she needs to do to improve to catch up to them so she can be successful at the professional level.”
In addition to her time with Ryu, Ramos also had the benefit of having extensive one-on-one time with her caddy, Andy Barnes, who is also an assistant coach for the men’s golf team.
Barnes has professional caddying experience, assisting in PGA Tournaments before for Charley Hoffman and his brother, Arizona alumnnus Ricky Barnes.
“I think (she) got caught up in the moment, playing in a major championship so early, and never kind of shook that … it affected her play,” Barnes said. “She needed to realize it’s just golf, and it’s just you and the golf ball, no matter what course.”
The pressure of an important tournament naturally brings out the nerves in athletes, especially when it is their first time in a contest of such magnitude; yet, the disappointing performance for Ramos is reminiscent of her junior year as a whole. While she had a successful season, which included being named to the second-team All-Pacific-10 Conference, it was a step back from her prolific sophomore season, where she was named a second-team All-American by the National Golf Coaches Association as well as first-team All-Pac-10.
“(Ramos) came off a fantastic sophomore year … so we had really high expectations for Margarita going into her junior year,” Ianello said. “She struggled a little bit.”
But when asked about her expectations for Ramos this year, Ianello said she has high expectations.
“I think she is going to do awesome this year,” the head coach said. “Her summer has done nothing but set her up for success.”
Winning would have been an astonishing accomplishment for the Wildcat senior, and being able to participate at the highest level of the sport shows the talent and potential the golf team has this season.
“I want to be a part of an NCAA Championship,” Ramos said. “I want to be a part of the team that wins (the championship). I already have all the experience (from the past three years), so now its proving everything that I’ve learned from my freshwman year and putting it all together.”
Both Barnes and Ianello feel that Ramos has the potential to make her senior campaign her best one yet, especially after being a part of the U.S. Open.
“She’s an extremely competitive person,” Ianello said. “She always goes out on the golf course expecting to play her best. I think that gives her a huge advantage.”