ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. -- Cayman Ratliff had been dreaming about winning the East Tennessee Amateur since before his debut in the eighth grade. Five years later, the reality was even more impressive than the dream.
Ratliff, the Sullivan South graduate and future ETSU golfer, lapped the field Sunday, posting a second 66 of the tournament and winning by ten strokes with a record 16-under par total.
It didn't look like it would be so easy early on. Four holes in, Milligan College golfer Mitchell Sutton was just a stroke back, but starting at hole 14 Ratliff went from good to great, and the field melted under the pressure.
He nearly holed out on 14 for double eagle, settling for a kick-in eagle and a four stroke advantage. A chip-in eagle at 16 advanced the margin to six, and even after a bogey at 17, he had the record score in view.
It didn't matter. He was only thinking about a birdie finish, and after his approach spun back within five feet, he finished the deal emphatically.
Ratliff's 16-under score bested Tillinghast Invitational champion Chip Spratlin and Dakota Norton at six-under par. Nine players finished the tournament below par.
Next up for Ratliff is the Tennessee Junior Amateur Championship this week, where he is the defending champion. Then, next week he competes in the US Amateur Public Links Championship. The winner of that tournament plays in the 2015 Masters Tournament.
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