SANTIAGO, Chile—Rohan Ramnath opened the Abierto de Chile presented VOLVO with a 4-under 67. He’s tied for seventh, four strokes behind leader Alex Weiss. With that start, Ramnath finds himself in solid position heading into the second round, and it’s actually quite an unfamiliar place to be for the third-year pro. In 13 previous PGA TOUR Latinoamérica first rounds, Ramnath had never broken 70, his lowest score a 72. To go a bit deeper, prior to Thursday at Club de Golf Mapocho, Ramnath had only broken 70 once.
He’s also never made a cut, a fact he’d like to change this week.
So far, so good.
“I feel like I hit it quite well today. I’ve been putting well all year. I feel like I hit it better than I have, and that took some pressure off the rest of my game,” said Ramnath, a 2016 graduate of Harvard University. “Overall, I felt like the game was solid today. It’s been a long time coming.”
Since his debut on this Tour, at the 2017 Avianca Colombia Open, Ramnath has played in 13 events, missing 12 cuts and withdrawing from another. The withdrawal at the 2017 BMW Jamaica Classic sent warning signals to him that something was wrong with his left hand, an injury that accounted for his poor play.
Ramnath fought through the pain and played three more tournaments that season, finishing a combined 29-over par in those six rounds.
When Ramnath finally sought treatment, what doctors discovered was a stress fracture on the back of his hand, not a significantly big deal unless you happen to play golf for a living.
“It wasn’t bothering me too much with day-to-day activities. It was really something small. Had I not been playing golf for a career, I could have left it,” said Ramnath.
Hitting golf balls with a broken metacarpal bone, though? That’s a different story. Playing through the pain and the results speaking for themselves, Ramnath elected to undergo surgery in December 2017.
“The timing was unfortunate,” he added. “I didn’t play golf for about six months. I missed the Latinoamérica Q-School, and the Q-Schools for (PGA TOUR) Canada and (PGA TOUR Series-) China. I couldn’t grip a club until March. I couldn’t get back to full swings until April-May.”
Just about one year ago, his hand healed and the pain gone, Ramnath began trying to get his game back in shape. Some mini-tour play in Florida and constant practice led him PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament earlier this year.
In Buenos Aires, Ramnath was back at it. A pair of 69s to open and close the tournament in Argentina led to a tie for 10th. That earned him fully-exempt status for the first half of the PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season, and here he is a nice inch-long scar on the back of his hand as a reminder of what he endured.
“My goal is to finish in the top 10 (on the Order of Merit). Obviously, I haven’t gotten off to the start I wanted to this year. I just need to have a couple of things go my way, hit some good shots here and there just to get my confidence back. You miss 10, 11 cuts in a row and it starts creeping into the back of your mind,” Ramnath added.
As for good things Ramnath is seeking? There were more than a couple Thursday. He birdied his opening two holes—both par-5s—and had birdies on four of his first five to quickly move to 4-under. He minimized his bogeys (two) and picked up two additional birdies along the way for his 67.
“Early on in the week, my game and practice seemed to carry over from last week,” he said of his play that caused him to miss the cut at the Molino Cañuelas Championship in Argentina. “I wasn’t hitting it all that great. I sat back and thought a little bit. I did a little process of elimination and I felt that [Wednesday] I maybe started to turn the corner. I did some good things after that, and I’m happy that it held true today because competition often changes things. I came in with a good game plan and stuck to it.”