He’s taking a longer path than originally intended but Ryan Ruffels’ dream of playing on the PGA TOUR is back on track after an impressive finish at the season-opening Great Exuma Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour.
The first event of the year on the PGA TOUR’s secondary tour featured high winds and high scores over the opening two rounds, former PGA TOUR winner Tommy Gainey shooting 67-69 over the final two rounds to win by four shots.
Following a hard-earned 74 in the first round, Ruffels moved inside the top 10 on the leaderboard with rounds of 69-70 but had to fight back late to end the week tied for 11th at the Greg Norman-designed Sandals Emerald Bay layout.
A birdie at the par-4 opening hole was countered by a bogey at the next, a further dropped shot at the par-4 seventh for the second day in succession sending the 21-year-old to the back nine 1-over on his round.
Further bogeys at 11 and 13 saw Ruffels slide further down the leaderboard but he responded in impressive fashion, picking up shots at the par 5s at 15 and 18 to sign for a 73 and establish a strong platform from which to build for the season ahead.
Sydney’s Jamie Arnold was the only other Australian to make the cut while Kiwi Steven Alker shot 70 in the final round to move up 23 spots and into a tie for 34th.
Korn Ferry Tour
The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic
Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas
T11 Ryan Ruffels 74-69-70-73—286 $US12,378
T34 Steven Alker 71-77-75-70—293 $3,510
T44 Jamie Arnold 77-72-72-74—295 $2,730
MC Brett Drewitt 73-77—150
MC Steven Bowditch 73-78—151
MC Curtis Luck 80-75—155
MC Brett Coletta 74-84—158