Defending Champion Chad Ramey trying to hold off the field at the MS Junior Golf Tournament

By A.J. Giardina – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -2009 champion Chad Ramey of Fulton, Mississippi didn't fare as well as he did on Monday. Ramey breezed to an impressive 5-under par 67 in round one.  It was a different story in round two.  Ramey closed out play with 6 bogeys, one double bogey and 3 birdies for a 5 over 77.

Ramey said he just couldn't make a putt, "I had a couple of three putts to start off the day and hit the ball everywhere all day, mainly off the tee, couldn't get it in the fairway."

Ramey ended an outstanding prep career at Itawamba Agricultural High School.

"As a team we ended up winning three state championships out of four years and I won individual three out of four years," Ramey stated.

Despite a 5 over 77, Ramey enters Wednesday's final 18 holes with a four shot lead over Fletcher Johnson of Tupelo.

Johnson had his problems in the early going, didn't give up and closed up with a number of super putts on 7, 8 and 9. He fired a four over 76 after shooting an even par 72 on Monday.

Johnson said he started off bad, got worse but, "I birdied the last three holes for a 76. I had a good finish and maybe tomorrow I'll come out and play well."

Johnson was a member of the Tupelo High School golf team where his team won three state championships in a row and he came in second, twice in individual honors.

He also won a big honor this summer saying, "I won the Mississippi State Amateur this year. I don't know. I got hot that week and kind of struggled ever since. I'm coming back, playing well."

Johnson inked a golf scholarship with Mississippi State and he'll become college teammates with Chad Ramey, who chose the Bulldogs over SMU.

Ramey says he wanted to play close to home and play in a smaller city,"I was kind of afraid to go to a bigger city but I think it will work out good. Plus, my swing coaches are both down there in Starkville."

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College golf coach Tommy Snell has high praise for Ramey saying, "He's just a great player overall. He shoots low numbers . I mean he's come up through the junior ranks."

Both Ramey and Johnson along with East Key of Meridian who is five shots off the pace, tee off Wednesday morning at ten.

Windance Golf Pro David Lee was all smiles on Tuesday.  His son, Sam, captured the 9 & Under Division title.

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