Ryan Ruffels will lead a contingent of four Aussies seeking full status on the Korn Ferry Tour at this week’s Q School Final Stage after falling just short at the final event of the PGA TOUR-Latinoamerica season.
Seventh on the Order of Merit prior to the season-ending Shell Championship in Florida, Ruffels was contending for the lead through 36 holes courtesy of rounds of 69-68.
A third round of 1-under 70 saw him enter the final round in a tie for sixth and in need of a strong final day to push into the top five on the moneylist and earn automatic promotion to the US PGA TOUR’s secondary tour in 2020.
Two bogeys on the front side made Ruffels’ assignment all the more challenging yet the 21-year-old responded in the best possible fashion, rattling off three straight birdies after the turn and picking up another at the par-5 16th.
Yet that was where his charge would end, a dropped shot at the 17th compounded by a double bogey at the 72nd hole to end the week tied for seventh, his sixth top-10 result in 2019 to end the Latinoamerica season inside the top 10 on the Order of Merit and receive automatic entry into the Korn Ferry Tour Final Stage this week in Florida.
Joining Ruffels at Orange County National are fellow Australians Harrison Endycott, Brett Drewitt and Daniel Nisbet along with Kiwi Nick Voke, all guaranteed some Korn Ferry status by virtue of qualifying.
The top 45 finishers this week will receive what the tour describes as a “healthy number of starts” in 2020 which will be critical in seeking advancement to the PGA TOUR the following year.
The Asian Tour conducted its penultimate event of the year in conjunction with the European Tour with Travis Smyth the best of the Aussies in a tie for 33rd and Jake Higginbottom tied for 54th.
Trump National Doral Golden Palm, Doral, Florida
T7 Ryan Ruffels 69-68-70-72—279
T36 Harrison Endycott 69-70-71-76—286
AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open
Heritage Golf Club, Mauritius
T33 Travis Smyth 70-66-71-71—278 $US8,870
T54 Jake Higginbottom 70-70-72-71—283 $3,974
MC Daniel Fox 72-73—145
MC David Gleeson 76-71—147