LAKEWOOD RANCH — Ramsey Touchberry and Danny Walker have stood beside one another for nearly a decade.
They’ve steadily climbed the junior golf ranks, pushing each other to achieve perfection.
And they’ve powered Lakewood Ranch to 441 wins and three straight championships in four years.
So, it only seemed fitting that the two would make their college choices official together.
On Nov. 13, in front of family and friends, the two Lakewood Ranch High seniors both signed national letters of intent to play college golf.
The only difference separating the two — the names of their intended colleges splashed across their T-shirts.
Touchberry, who finished second individually at this year’s Class 3A state tournament, signed with the University of Florida, while Walker, the 2010 individual state champion, signed with the University of Virginia.
“It’s nice to finally be able to put in writing something I’ve been (committed) to for almost two years,” Touchberry says.
“It’s exciting to be moving on to a new phase in life,” Walker says. “I’ve worked pretty hard at this for a long time, and now I’m achieving a goal I’ve had for many years.”
Touchberry verbally committed to Florida during his sophomore year, after making his first visit to Gainesville.
Initially, Touchberry didn’t think attending Florida was within reach. But, after meeting with UF coach Buddy Alexander, Touchberry, who also looked at Auburn, Wake Forest, Florida State and the University of South Florida, felt that was where he needed to be.
“When I met Buddy, I think in the back of my mind I had already decided that I wanted to play for Florida,” Touchberry says. “A lot of the players he’s coached have gone on to be some type of professional.
“I know a lot of the other guys who are going there, too,” Touchberry says. “In a span of three to four years, I’ll pretty much know everyone on the team. It makes a big difference when you know your teammates.”
Walker verbally committed to Virginia in 2012. As soon as he visited with the coach and saw the campus, Walker knew Virginia would be his home for the next four years.
“It just seemed like the right choice,” Walker says. “I’m hoping to replicate some of the same success we had here up there. I’m looking forward to being a part of a new team and getting better.”
With their senior season behind them, Touchberry and Walker will continue training every day at the Missing Link Golf Academy at Legacy Golf Club, where they’ve been training together under the guidance of Ian Segneri since they were 10 years old.
Although Touchberry and Walker have achieved about as much as anyone can achieve at the high school level, now is the time when the two will focus on the little details of their games that will help elevate them to the next level — one in which every competitor is top-notch.
“When players get better, the little things become more important,” Segneri says. “It’s time to step it up a notch when it comes to work ethic and practice. Now everyone they face is going to be the best of the best. It’s a whole new level, but they are going to do it. I have no doubt about it.”
The two will spend roughly the next eight months together, before heading off in different directions for the first time in a long time.
“I definitely think it helps when you are around good players who can push you,” Segneri says. “It’s been perfect. It’s going to be strange for them (next year). It’s going to be different, but they’ll be friends for life.”
The notion hasn’t quite sunk in for the two just yet, but both admit they are eager to see what the next level has to offer.
Not to mention they are excited about the Gator Invitational, where the two will face off on opposite teams for the first time next fall.
“It will seem different and a little weird because we’ve been together for so long,” Touchberry says. “We’ll be on opposing teams for the first time, but we’ll still have that competitive (spirit). I don’t think that will change much. We’ll still have that drive to beat each other.”
School: University of Florida
Major: Political science
71.34 — Touchberry’s golf average this season.
8 — The number of individual tournament titles Touchberry has won over the past four years.
2 — The place Touchberry finished at this year’s Class 3A state tournament.
School: University of Virginia
70.66 — Walker’s golf average this season.
8 — The number of individual tournaments Walker has won over the past four years.
2010 — The year Walker won Lakewood’s first individual golf state championship.
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].