Ruffels in action today – photo Chris Keane USGA

Victorian, Gabriela Ruffels, has made a promising start to the defence of her US Women’s Amateur Championship, the 20 year old daughter of tennis champions, Ray Ruffels and Anna-Maria Fernandez, and sister to celebrated young Australian professional, Ryan Ruffels, today finishing equal 5th in the stroke-play phase of the Championship at the Woodmont Golf Club in Rockville in Maryland.

In winning the title in 2019, Ruffels became the first Australian to win the coveted championship and with rounds of 72 and 71 on the demanding Woodmont Golf Club layout this week, she is well placed to advance through the match play phases which begin on Thursday (US time).

Currently ranked 9th in the World Women’s Amateur rankings, Ruffels takes on  South Africa’s Kajal Mistry in the opening round.

Mistry survived a playoff to get into the field of 64 to contend the match play, bouncing back  from an opening round of 81 with a second round of 69 to scrape into the knockout field.

Ruffels, who currently attends the University of Southern California, will be joined in the early rounds of match play by fellow Australians Emily Mahar and Kirsty Hodgkins who finished in a share of 48th place and take their place in tomorrow’s field.

Australian Emily Mahar is also into match play