LAKEWOOD RANCH — Ramsey Touchberry and Danny Walker expect nothing short of perfection.
Winning should be the norm.
And losing, well, that simply isn’t an option.
In the four years they’ve been a part of the Lakewood Ranch High boys golf team’s top 5, Touchberry and Walker have only lost a total of 18 times, having won four district titles, four regional titles and a pair of state titles.
“Each year we’ve been here, we’ve been a contender for states,” Touchberry says. “We don’t know anything different. With the teams before us, it was about fighting to get to states. But, with us, we’re always looking to win it. It’s not just about getting there.”
“We’re not really used to losing,” Walker says. “When we don’t win, it kind of comes as a shock.”
Now with their senior year winding down, Touchberry and Walker are hoping to add an unprecedented third state championship to their growing list of accolades.
Touchberry and Walker will compete in the state championship for the fourth time Nov. 5 and Nov. 6, at Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills.
“This is something we’ll remember forever,” Walker says. “It’s not something that happens very often, where a team wins three times in a row.”
The Mustangs advanced to the 2013 FHSAA Finals after capturing their fourth-consecutive regional title at the Class 3A-Region 5 tournament Oct. 21, in Venice.
Touchberry shot 65 to win his second-consecutive individual regional championship. Walker added a 71.
Lakewood finished as the state runner-up during Touchberry and Walker’s freshman season before capturing back-to-back state championships the past two seasons.
“It would be a great way to end our high school careers,” Ramsey says of winning a third state championship. “It would be the icing on the cake to be able to look back on these past four years and know that our team was confident and performed so well.”
Their journey together began in 2003 when the two met for the first time at the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship. Two years later, the pair enrolled at the Missing Link Golf Academy at Legacy Golf Club, where the two continue to train together under the guidance of Ian Segneri.
Since joining Lakewood’s golf team as freshmen, Touchberry and Walker have accounted for 420 wins and 16 individual titles.
Although, at the time, Touchberry and Walker, who rarely disagree, had differing opinions on just how well the Mustangs would do.
Touchberry based his assumptions on the team’s performance in the past.
“They had always just fought to get to states, so I didn’t really expect to be in position that first year,” Touchberry says.
Walker, on the other hand, based his assumptions solely on intuition.
“Before freshman year, I told Ramsey we were going to win four state titles,” Walker says. “I don’t know if I was just being optimistic or if I really thought that. I think it was more of a nice thought than anything else.”
Walker won the Class 2A state championship as a freshman and has a pair of district titles to his credit, among others, while Touchberry has won eight titles of his own, including a pair of regional titles, a district title and two Manatee County championships.
Statistically, Touchberry and Walker are having their best season since joining the Mustangs four years ago. Walker leads Touchberry by a shot over the course of the season with a 988 to Touchberry’s 987.
“I’ve never had to worry about how their competitiveness would deter from the team even though deep down I know they have a fire to beat each other,” Lakewood coach Dave Frantz says.
With their strong performances at the regional championships, Walker’s season average now stands at 70.5. Touchberry isn’t far behind at 70.58.
“I don’t think there’s been a day yet that one or the other of us wasn’t playing well,” Touchberry says. “We know each other really well and we’re really competitive. We don’t always show it, but inside we know we are.”
Following this season, Touchberry and Walker will return to Missing Link, where they will prepare to go their separate ways for the first time in 10 years. Touchberry has committed to the University Florida, while Walker plans to play at the University of Virginia.
But the two still plan to train together on their home course whenever they are home in Lakewood Ranch on break. And, next fall, the two will once again unleash their competitive spirits when they reunite in the Gator Invitational — this time on opposite sides of the green.
“The one thing I’m going to take away from my high school experience to college is the way this team was so competitive and always expected the best,” Touchberry says. “I can look back on it and say to myself,
‘We can have the good memories, but we need to push ourselves to be like the team I had in high school.’”
BY THE NUMBERS
420 — The number of wins Touchberry and Walker have led the Mustangs to over the past four years.
16 — The combined number of individual titles Touchberry and Walker have won.
2010 — The year Walker captured the Class 2A FHSAA State Championship.
2 — The number of team state championships Touchberry and Walker have won.
8 — The number of years Touchberry and Walker have been training together at the Missing Link Golf Academy at Legacy Golf Club.
5 — The combined number of Top 20 finishes Touchberry and Walker have for in their three previous state tournament appearances.
Contact Jen Blanco at email@example.com
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