Cayman Ratliff wins State Junior Am; Stevens third

Cayman Ratliff wins State Junior Am; Stevens third

July 12th, 2013 by Gene Henley in Sportlocal

CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Cayman Ratliff played as consistent a round as he possibly could have played Thursday on the final day of the Tennessee Junior Amateur golf tournament at Cleveland Country Club.

And he got the victory as a result.

Ratliff carded a final-round 68, ending the three-day event with a score of 206. It was enough for the Sullivan South rising senior from Kingsport to defeat Knoxville's Jack Smith by two strokes and claim the title. He receives an exemption to the State Amateur tournament as a result of the win.

Scott Stevens of Chattanooga also closed with a 68 -- one golfer bettered that with a 67 -- and finished third with a 209. Signal Mountain residents Mikey Feher and Gordon Hulgan tied for seventh and 12th with a 214 and a 217, and Chattanooga's Lake Johnson shared 14th at 218.

"It means a lot to win, I guess," said Ratliff, who finished 11th in the 2012 Class AAA high school state tournament. "I was able to make a few birdies, and I had no bogeys today. It's always to important to have bogey-free rounds. If I do that, I'm happy."

He had birdies on the par-3 No. 6 hole and par-4 No. 8. He had a three-stroke lead on Smith with five holes remaining and parred the rest of the way.

Smith, who prepped at Knoxville Webb and will play for the University of Tennessee next season, thought he played well. He had one more birdie than Ratliff but bogeys at Nos. 4 and 11.

"I had plenty of opportunities, but I struggled to make some putts," Smith said. "I had a bad swing off the tee on No. 11 and never really recovered."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.