Gabi Ruffels – performing well in an overall disappointing week for the Australasians – photo PGA of America
Rookie US based Victorian professional, Gabi Ruffels, heads the Australasian contingent as the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship north of Atlanta enters tomorrow’s final round, but she is some 12 shots behind the joint 54 leaders, Lizette Salas and Nelly Korda.
Ruffels surged back from an opening round of 76 on Thursday with a second round 65 but today she was unable to build on that improvement, adding a third round of 72 to be tied for 17th.
Lydia Ko is the next best of the down under brigade but, in what has been a disappointing week this far for the group, she is currently tied for 42nd, with Minjee Lee 52nd and Su Oh 56th.
Ruffels turned professional in February of this year and has played on both the Symetra and LPGA Tours since. Her outstanding amateur career included a win and runner-up finish at the US Women’s Amateur Championship and much success while attending college in California.
Ruffel’s second round of 65 was highlighted by a barnstorming finish in which she birdied her final four holes but today it was a two birdie two bogey affair and while not losing any ground she did not make the move she was not doubt hoping for after the heroics of Friday.
Ruffels received an exemption to play the event and was delighted to do so.
“It’s been great,” said Ruffels after round two. “I was so grateful to get the exemption into a major. I didn’t even know that was possible. I found out last Monday, I’m pretty sure, before the Meyer, and I was super pumped to have two events. This is my last exemption on the LPGA. So hopefully, I can finish it on a good one.”
Ruffels previous best in a major championship was when 13th at last year’s US Women’s Open so a good round tomorrow will assist her to her best result at this level.
The leaders, Salas and Korda have burst clear of the field, opening up a gap of five shots over ANA winner, Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit, Italian Giulia Molinaro and Frenchwoman Celine Boutier.
Neither Salas, nor Korda, has won a major title, Korda with five LPGA Tour victories to her name and Salas one.
Joint leader Nelly Korda chasing a first major title – photo PGA of America