Aussies on Tour: Ruffels added to Women’s PGA field


Gabi Ruffels insists this week’s Meijer Classic in Michigan is the perfect preparation for her fourth appearance in a Major championship having been added to the field for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship starting next Thursday.

Ruffels and Mexico’s Maria Fassi were both granted sponsor invites to play in the year’s third Major, Ruffels already having proven that she has the combination of game and temperament to contend in the game’s showpiece events.

She was top-15 at both the ANA Inspiration and US Women’s Open in 2020 as an amateur and in April was tied for 19th at the ANA having joined the professional ranks in February of this year.

The 2019 US Women’s Amateur champion and runner-up in 2020, Ruffels turned professional without status on either the LPGA Tour or secondary Symetra Tour but is destined to rise rapidly into the ranks of the world’s best.

Already ranked 136 in the world to be the fifth-highest Australian in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Ruffels could avoid Q-School and earn an LPGA Tour card by winning an event or earning the equivalent points of the top 40 on the Order of Merit.

For now, though, she is simply grateful for the chance to play this week and the invitation to play at Atlanta Athletic Club in a week’s time.

“One of the tournament organisers sent me an e-mail and I got an e-mail from the LPGA with the entry form for the KPMG,” Ruffels said of the unexpected invite that arrived in her inbox on Monday.

“I got it three hours late after my practice round on Monday and I was so excited.

“I was in the car with my coach Grant, my Mum and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, you wouldn’t believe it. I just got into KPMG.’

“It was cool. I texted my manager straightaway because I know they had been working on that.

“As you can tell, I’m pretty excited.”

Ruffels is one of six Aussies in the field at Grand Rapids this week, five of whom are also in the field for the KPMG Women’s PGA.

Su Oh, Hannah Green, Katherine Kirk, Sarah Kemp and Sarah Jane Smith are also in action this week where Ruffels intends to take advantage of the opportunity to sharpen her game before another Major test.

“I feel like there is no better preparation than playing an LPGA event before next week’s major,” Ruffels said.

“Just trying to play as best as I can this week and hopefully have good preparation for next.”

West Australian Hannah Green will return to Australia for five weeks following the Women’s PGA Championship and the 2019 champion intends to finish this block of her season on a positive note.

“It is easy to get excited and caught up in going home and forget why I’m playing the next two events,” Green admitted.

“This week I haven’t done as much prep as I probably would just because I was quite tired from the last few weeks, so kind of taking it a little bit easier.

“Next week as soon as I get there and see past champion name and parking lot and stuff like that, I think I’ll be really motivated to try and get that again in ‘21.

“It is going to be a tough task, but I’m ready for it.”

Round 1 tee times AEST

LPGA Tour

Meijer LPGA Classic For Simply Give

Blythefield Country Club, Grand Rapids, Michigan

9.26pm                Su Oh, Min Seo Kwak, Klara Spilkova

9.48pm                Gabriela Ruffels, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Charley Hull

9.59pm                Lydia Ko, Jin Young Ko, Mel Reid

9.59pm*             Hannah Green, Cristie Kerr, Sophia Popov

11.16pm*           Sarah Jane Smith, Mind Muangkhumsakul, Maia Schechter

2.15am*              Katherine Kirk, Dottie Ardina, Pernilla Lindberg

3.32am*              Sarah Kemp, Austin Ernst, Mi Jung Hur

Defending champion: Brooke Henderson (2019)

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Top Aussie prediction: Hannah Green

TV schedule: Live 12.30am-3.30am Thursday, Friday; Live 5am-8am Sunday; Live 3am-6am Monday on Fox Sports 505.

Korn Ferry Tour

Wichita Open

Crestview Country Club, Wichita, Kansas

10.05pm*           Jamie Arnold, Seth Reeves, Tommy Gainey

10.16pm             Rhein Gibson, Ryan Brehm, Will Wilcox

3.15am                Brett Coletta, Michael Gellerman, Billy Kennerly

3.57am                Steven Alker, Peter Uihlein, Julián Etulain

4.07am*              Brett Drewitt, Ollie Schniederjans, Theo Humphrey

4.28am                Nick Voke, Mark Blakefield, Cyril Bouniol

4.49am                Harrison Endycott, Patrick Fishburn, Steve Lewton

Defending champion: Jared Wolfe

Past Aussie winners: Bradley Hughes (2004), Mathew Goggin (2011)

Top Aussie prediction: Rhein Gibson

PGA TOUR Latinoamerica

Holcim Colombia Classic

Club Campestre de Bucaramanga, Bucaramanga, Colombia

3.30am*              Danny List, Derek Gillespie, Sean Busch

Defending champion: Andrés Echavarría (2016)

Past Aussie winners: Nil

Legends Tour

Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship

Trevose Golf & Country Club, Padstow, England

Australasians in the field: Peter Fowler, Michael Campbell, Michael Long

Defending champion: Jean-Francois Remesy (2019)

Past Aussie winners: Nil


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