Klampe clamps down, wins 2 tournaments in one weekend

Local 14-year-old golfer Ryan Klampe won both OGA junior golf tournaments held in Florence Aug. 24 to 25.

Local golfer brings back excitement for youth golf in Florence

Sept. 11, 2021 — Florence golfer Ryan Klampe swept both age 14–15 boys divisions at two Oregon Golf Association junior golf events in Florence the weekend of Aug. 24 and 25, winning the Florence Junior at Florence Golf Links and also finishing on top of the Joe English Ocean Dunes Junior at Ocean Dunes Golf Links.

Klampe battled gusty winds at the Florence Junior at Florence Golf Links on August 24. He started off strong with a birdie on the first hole, then remained consistent, staying even on all but two holes to finish the front 9 just 1-over par. 

The first hole of the back 9 gave him trouble. Facing a long par 4 with hazards on both sides, along with strong winds, Klampe knew he had a challenge.

“I was like ‘don’t go to the left’ and ‘don’t go to the right’. I knew I had to hit right down the middle. Well, instead I put it into the hazard. I got mad and took a double bogey,” said Klampe.

He talked about how important the “mental game” is in golf and how you can’t let a bad break, like he had on hole 10, ruin the rest of your day at the course.

“I just try to focus on the good side, because when you get mad, you're not going to play good golf,” Klampe said. “If you hit a few bad shots and keep getting mad, you're going to keep making bad shots. You're going to go for overly difficult shots because you're frustrated and feel like you have to make up for what you did last swing. It’ll just keep getting worse. You’ll just keep taking unnecessarily difficult shots. You’ve got to calm yourself down and get back to just playing golf. When you’re mad, you take unnecessary chances.”

Klampe calmed himself down and returned to his usual consistent play and parred the remaining holes, except for a bogey on 16, to beat the second-place golfer by four strokes with an 18-hole score of 4-over par 75. 

Klampe was especially pleased to beat who he considers the best player in his age division, fellow junior golfer Mason Zimmerman. Not only did he beat him, he beat him handily by 10 strokes.

The next day, at the Joe English Ocean Dunes Junior at Ocean Dunes, Klampe’s mental toughness was tested again, this time early. After double bogeying holes 2 and 3, he knew he couldn’t let the adversity get to him, especially at a course like Ocean Dunes which can be very unforgiving. 

“Florence Golf Links is open. Ocean Dunes is tight. You have to make good shots, or you’ll get in trouble quick,” Klampe said.

Good shots he did make, parring hole 3 and scoring a very nice birdie on 4 before settling in for what Ryan described as a “boring” (read: easy) finish to score a 5-over 75 over 18 holes to win by three strokes. 

The highlight, for Klampe, was hole 15. Normally a par 5, for this tournament it was a very long 467-yard par 4.

“I looked at my scorecard and noticed they had 15 as a par 4. ‘A 467-yard par 4? What are they thinking?’ I thought to myself,” he said. “Now I have to hit driver, because if I use a 4-iron I might get a bogey. Well, I hit the driver right down the middle and I was so relieved. I was like ‘Oh, thank you!’ I was really happy I got a par on that hole.”

By winning these two tournaments, Klampe earned an invite to compete in a tournament at Creekside Golf Course in Salem later in the month. Instead, he said he’ll most likely skip it to support his hometown course and play in the Ocean Dunes Club Championship, which takes place that same weekend in Florence and which he’s competed in several years in a row. 

Klampe first stepped onto a golf course at 3 years old, and his years of experience is paying off as he rises in the rankings of youth golfers in Oregon. Klampe, along with his parents, Ron and Takako, credit the constant support and tutelage of some of Florence’s best golfers, many of whom came out of the currently nonexistent Siuslaw High School golf program.

Lack of student interest caused the elimination of golf as a sport offered at SHS, but if the turnout for Florence Golf Links Junior Camp a few weeks ago is any indication, Florence kids are playing golf in growing numbers and it should be only a matter of time before the sport returns. 

Siuslaw Athletic Director Chris Johnson said that only five kids went out for the team in its last year of existence, and student interest would be the driving factor for a return of the sport. 

Klampe, who is a freshman this year, is hoping a school team will come to fruition. Teammates on the green would provide some local challenge to help with his mental game as he prepares for his next competitions.

If Klampe continues to excel individually in tournaments across the region, it will help build support locally for a Siuslaw High golf team.

For information about local golf, visit florencegolflinks.com or threeriverscasino.com/golf.