Ringsby holds rare mix of golf talent, determination
USA-China Youth Golf Match
When: Aug. 23-24
Where: CordeValle Golf Resort, San Martin, Calif.
The U.S. team: Patrick Cover, 16, of Huntersville, N.C.; Sebastian Crampton, 16, of Pacific Grove, Calif.; Jessica Kittelberger, 16, of Raleigh, N.C.; Hana Ku, 16, of Basking Ridge, N.J.; Divya Manthena, 15, of Camarillo, Calif.; Michael Pisciotta, 16, of Alpharetta, Ga.; Calli Ringsby, 16, of Cherry Hills Village, Colo.; and Thomas Walsh, 16, of High Point, N.C.
Why it’s important: This is the second playing of the event (an inaugural match was held in 2008 in China in conjunction with the Beijing Olympics, and Team USA prevailed), and the first year the AJGA has had a hand in selecting the teams. The idea is to promote service and volunteerism among juniors, as well as friendship and cultural learning between the two teams.
Calli Ringsby of Cherry Hills Village, Colo., spent her summer vacation mentoring young golfers at The First Tee of Denver and fundraising for charities with the AJGA’s Leadership Links program. Ringsby’s time off from school could be defined by her volunteer work, but that would only cover half of her story.
Ringsby managed a feat only accomplished twice since the turn of the century: she swept the Colorado Junior Stroke Play and Match Play Championships in the same year. Ringsby shot 68-73-71 for a 10-under 212 and an easy 5-shot victory over Hannah Wood in the Stroke Play, played at Indian Tree Golf Course. At the Match Play, held at Wellshire Golf Course in Denver, Ringsby put herself in a tough position in the bracket after shooting 76 in the qualifier and taking the sixth seed. She didn’t let it work against her, and cruised through her matches before eventually winning the final against Sydney Merchant, 3 and 2.
“I think [each win was] equally difficult because in stroke play it was all on me,” Ringsby explained. “In match play if you don’t play well, then there’s always some hope that the other person wouldn’t play well. But after having such a bad qualifying round and having to go through the higher seeds, then that made it harder in match play.”
In addition to the Colorado sweep, Ringsby qualified for the U.S, Girls’ Junior, Callaway Junior World Championship, came in fourth at the AJGA Junior at Fox Hill and missed the U.S. Women’s Amateur by a single stroke. She caps off her summer with the USA-China Youth Golf Match, which pits eight American juniors, chosen not only for their golf abilities but for their leadership skills as well, against eight Chinese juniors, to spread goodwill and promote the game of golf.
“I think it’s nice because it’s kind of hard to play golf and create a friendship between two countries,” she said. “It’s nice that we can communicate.”
The match is being played Aug. 23-24 at Cordevalle Golf Resort in San Martin, Calif., and will consist of alternate-shot, foursomes and singles matches.
Though the Youth Golf Match focuses on heightening the relationship between the two countries, it also has some fringe benefits: Ringsby and the rest of the players were treated to a round at this year’s U.S. Open venue, The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
As for her future, she has yet to choose a college, but has a specific one in mind.
“I visited Stanford,” Ringsby said. “That’s my dream school.”
An early look at Ringsby’s resume suggests she’s qualified.