BUTTE — Sean Ramsbacher made sure that his final tournament on his home course was a memorable one.
Carrying a two-stroke lead into the final round of the Montana Tech Invite at the Butte Country Club on Tuesday, the fifth-year senior fended off a solid challenge from Rocky Mountain College's Mitchell Thiessen to win the men's tournament by one stroke, carding a three-round total of 207 to Thiessen's 208. That victory came after turning things around after a rough start that saw him sit at 5-over after the first six holes of Round 1.
"It was definitely a lot of pressure," said Ramsbacher, a Missoula Sentinel product and the defending Frontier Conference Tournament champion. "Definitely had to play good. I knew that going into it. And then I started well."
Ramsbacher carded birdies on the second and third holes to give him a little breathing room and take the edge off the pressure.
"That just kind of relieved the nerves," Ramsbacher said. "Kind of played out from there."
He held a one-stroke lead over Thiessen heading into the 18th hole and needed to make par to avoid a playoff.
His par putt ended up being about a foot. A simple shot but, considering what was at stake, it didn't necessarily feel that way.
"That one-foot putt was not guaranteed," Ramsacher said with a chuckle. "Missed my fair share of those at this tournament."
The win kept the Tech Invite men's individual trophy in Butte a year after Trey Hoagland carded a school-record 64 to win the tournament, which was condensed to a single round because of the pandemic.
"I knew going it it would be great to win it just to bring the title back," Ramsbacher said. "Because since Trey is gone I'd like to carry on that legacy of the seniors winning this tournament. Just a great feeling."
The win was as meaningful to Ramsbacher as it was to his coach, Sean Ryan, who is heading in his third season guiding both the Tech men's and women's golf programs. Ryan has coached two players to Frontier Conference championships--Ramsbacher and Sean Benson in 2019.
"As a super senior with that COVID year, he's a guy that we expect to lead us non-stop," Ryan said of Rambacher. "To come back and finish the tournament under par really shows that he's battling. That's very mature golf."
On the final three holes, with Thiessen threatening to take the lead, Ryan could be seen chatting casually with Ramsbacher, perhaps in that tense moment not so much mentoring him with a tournament win on the line, but helping lighten the mood.
"What I'm trying to do with Sean is to just not let him dwell over the suspense or the pressure that he's under," Ryan said. "And we've got a great relationship. He's just a great kid and we can talk about just about anything on the golf course."
With the Frontier fall golf season now underway, Ramsbacher, now filled with plenty of confidence, is looking to take things one stroke at a time.
"I'd just like to do well this whole fall season," Ramsbacher said. "I'm off to a good start. But I'd like to keep that rolling."