Defending champ Ratliff playing for his mom at East Tennessee Amateur
Defending champ Ratliff playing for his mom at East Tennessee Amateur
Friday, July 1, 2016

JOE AVENTO • YESTERDAY AT 5:28 PM

javento@johnsoncitypress.com

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (July 1, 2016) — ETSU sophomore Cayman Ratliff (Kingsport, Tenn.) has made many friends while winning the Carter County Bank East Tennessee Amateur the last two years. 

This year, though, his biggest fan won't be in the gallery at Elizabethton Golf Course. 

Ratliff's mother, Kara Brandon Ratliff, died in February. She had become a fixture at the East Tennessee Amateur and many other tournaments, riding a cart or walking the paths, watching every shot from a distance. 

She quietly clapped when Ratliff made a putt, grimaced at the rare bad shot and had the biggest smile in Carter County when he accepted the winner's trophy. 

"She's always been out there to support me," Ratliff said. "It'll be different, but every time I go out it will be like I'm playing for her." 

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