Ramsay became the first Scotsman to win this championship since Findlay Douglas won the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1898.
'I can't believe my name is on the trophy,' acknowledged Ramsay. 'I don't think it'll sink in for a couple of days. I'm pretty speechless to be honest.'
'It's just down the road,' joked Ramsay. 'The Open means the world to me. The best names in the business are on that trophy and this trophy. To go out and play in the Open, I can't wait.'
Sunday's final match was 36 holes and the pair kicked off with two wins a piece through eight holes. Kelly made a mess of the ninth and conceded the hole, then Ramsay rolled in a 20-footer for birdie to win the 10th.
Kelly needed two to get on the putting surface from the side of the green at 13 and conceded the hole. Kelly two-putted for birdie and a win at the 313- yard, par-four 14th and went into the midpoint 2-down.
Kelly came out of the break with a birdie and win at the second hole. The duo traded wins at three and four and Ramsay held on to a 1-up lead. Ramsay birdied the seventh for a win, then parred eight to go 3-up with 10 to play.
At the par-four 10th, Kelly ran home a 40-footer for birdie. That closed the gap to 2-down, but Kelly found the water at the 13th and conceded the hole to fall 3-down.
That was the margin until Ramsay only had three to go. At the 16th, Ramsay was conceded birdie and became the third foreign-born champion in the last four years.
'I couldn't believe what a great game we had,' said Ramsay. 'All credit to John. He came out and played some fantastic shots. He deserves a lot of credit.'
All is not completely lost for Kelly, a senior at the University of Missouri. The runner-up gets an invitation to next year's U.S. Open and is likely to receive an invitation to the Masters as well.
'I had a good week, but it's hard to swallow right now,' acknowledged Kelly. 'Eight days ago I was kind of a nobody. Now I'm kind of a somebody, I guess.'