By John Philip Wyllie
After a so-so first nine out at Eastlake Country Club Bonita Vista High senior Max Ramos had little reason to believe that he would emerge as the Mesa League golf champion, but a sizzling back nine allowed the Iowa State bound Ramos a dramatic come from behind victory.
“Max was a little nervous initially, but he stayed within himself and came back to win it,” said his proud coach, Sean Meisner. “He always maintains a good attitude and composure and that was particularly evident on the second day. Going into the tournament I don’t think anybody picked him to win it. His wasn’t one of the names that people were talking about beforehand. He just kind of snuck up on everybody.”
Playing golf is nothing new to Ramos. His father has been an avid golfer ever since he can remember. This love for the links was passed down father to son at an early age.
“My dad has always taken me out to hit balls and I have had every set of clubs starting with two footers. Whenever I grew another couple of inches it was time for a new set. I played mostly just for fun up until about eighth grade. Then I started to get serious about getting better so that I could make this team,” he said.
While Ramos is a two-sport athlete (he also plays roller hockey) and an exceptional, award-winning student, he has always finds time to play golf.
“I am a Sunday golfer most of the year. I usually maintain about an eight handicap shooting about an 80. When the league is in season I get a little more dialed in and I drop my handicap to a low four. Practicing six or seven days a week I shoot a lot better scores.”
Ramos was one of many golfers competing in the recent two-day Mesa League championship held this year at Eastlake Country Club. The tournament was set with 18-hole matches with a qualifying cut after the first day.
“I didn’t start my front nine the way I wanted to,” Ramos said. “I was four over with five bogies and a birdie. At that point, I pretty much reserved any hope of scoring an awesome game or winning it. Basically, I just relaxed.”
That relaxation turned out to be the key to victory. On the back nine he recorded three birdies and six pars. That gave him three under on the back nine to make it one over for the day. His 73 put him five strokes ahead of the field. Suddenly, winning the tournament didn’t seem so implausible. Ramos shot an 82 on day two, but that was all he needed.
In the fall, Ramos will enroll at Iowa State on a full academic scholarship and pursue a degree in engineering. The Advanced Placement courses that he has taken in high school will give him immediate sophomore standing. Ramos hopes to obtain both bachelors and masters degree within the next four years.
While engineering will be his primary focus, Ramos intends to continue playing golf.
“I am a lifetime golfer. I have the golf bug and it is not going away. I definitely want to play in college. If not on the college team maybe I’ll play on a club team. If I could mix that in and do well in school too, that would be awesome.”