25 Mar 2024 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Near misses for Ruffels, Micheluzzi

by Tony Webeck

Gabi Ruffels David Micheluzzi
Gabi Ruffels and David Micheluzzi both tasted a share of the lead on the LPGA Tour and DP World Tour respectively. Credit: Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images (Ruffels), Jason Butler/Getty Images (Micheluzzi)

Rising stars Gabi Ruffels and David Micheluzzi both got a glimpse of breakthrough wins on major tours before coming up just short.

Ruffels had a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to join the playoff at the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship on the LPGA Tour while Micheluzzi led early on the back nine on Sunday at the DP World Tour’s Porsche Singapore Classic.

In danger of missing the cut late on Friday, Ruffels surged into contention with a third round of 6-under 65, putting her just two shots off the lead heading into Round 4.

When eventual champion Nelly Korda made eagle at the par-5 14th Ruffels trailed by five, clawing her way back within three with birdies at 15 and 16.

With Korda playing in the group ahead, Ruffels was unaware that the American had dropped shots at both 17 and 18.

That gave the Aussie the simple equation of needing to make birdie at the final hole to match Korda and Ryann O’Toole’s total of 9-under par.

A member of the Golf Australia Rookie Squad, the 23-year-old had a good look from around 20 feet but her putt came up just short and left, her tie for third her best LPGA Tour result and a taste of what it takes to win at the highest level.

“Standing over the putt, I did realise that was to get into a playoff,” Ruffels revealed post-round.

“It's cool. It's really cool to be in that situation.

“Unfortunately didn't make the putt, but thought I hit a pretty good putt.

“Not a great start to the year I guess in Bradenton, but worked hard these past couple weeks and I really feel like my game is in a good place.

“Just goes to show this week and excited for the next couple weeks.”

It was a matter of ‘what if’ too for Micheluzzi in Singapore.

A one-stroke leader through 54 holes, Micheluzzi maintained his advantage as he began the back nine at Laguna National Golf Resort Club.

After a par at 10, the Victorian suffered a stroke of misfortune when he was forced to play out sideways from a bunker at the par-3 11th that led to a double-bogey.

He lost his tee shot right at the par-4 12th on his way to a second double-bogey, climbing back into a tie for seventh with birdies at 16 and 18 for his best finish in a DP World Tour event.

Veteran Aaron Baddeley had a one-stroke lead early in Round 2 of the PGA TOUR’s Valspar Championship, bouncing back from a 74 in Round 3 with a 2-under 69 to finish tied 17th.

Photos: Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images (Ruffels), Jason Butler/Getty Images (Micheluzzi)


PGA TOUR Valspar Championship Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead Cse), Palm Harbor, Florida 1 Peter Malnati 66-71-68-67—272 $US1.512m T17 Aaron Baddeley 67-70-74-69—280 $104,020 MC Ryan Fox (NZ) 76-69—145 MC Harrison Endycott 75-73—148 MC Min Woo Lee 74-75—149

DP World Tour Porsche Singapore Classic Laguna National Golf Resort Club, Singapore 1 Jesper Svensson 68-73-67-63—271 €392,403.78 T7 David Micheluzzi 67-70-66-73—276 €56,206.07 T29 Jason Scrivener 74-68-68-70—280 €19,504.78 MC Deyen Lawson 70-74—144 MC John Lyras 71-73—144 MC Tom Power Horan 73-71—144 MC Andrew Martin 74-74—148 MC Daniel Hillier 72-74—146 MC Michael Hendry 80-73—153

LPGA Tour Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship Palos Verdes Golf Club, Palos Verdes Estates, California 1 Nelly Korda 72-67-67-69—275 $US300,000 T3 Gabriela Ruffels 72-69-65-70—276 $120,026 T27 Karis Davidson 73-69-71-70—283 $15,179 MC Hira Naveed 70-74—144 MC Hannah Green 73-72—145 MC Sarah Kemp 74-74—148 MC Stephanie Kyriacou 75-74—149 MC Grace Kim 73-76—149 MC Robyn Choi 73-77—150

PGA TOUR Americas Bupa Championship at Tulum PGA Riviera Maya, Tulum, Mexico 1 Clay Feagler 69-70-74-71—284 T63 Charlie Hillier (NZ) 69-75-80-76—300 MC Harry Hillier (NZ) 74-76—150 MC Jason Hong 78-80—158

Challenge Tour Kolkata Challenge Royal Calcutta Golf Club, Kolkata, India 1 Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen 68-65-68-71—272 €44,318.54 T38 Hayden Hopewell 70-71-74-71—286 €1,689.64 MC Connor McKinney 76-69—145

Epson Tour Atlantic Beach Classic Atlantic Beach Country Club, Atlantic Beach, Florida 1 Briana Chacon 67-70-69—206$US45,000 11 Fiona Xu (NZ) 68-70-72—210$6,091 T55 Amelia Garvey (NZ) 68-74-78—220$1,149 MC Cassie Porter 73-74—147 MC Su Oh 76-77—153

Champions Tour Hoag Classic Newport Beach CC, Newport Beach, California 1 Padraig Harrington 63-67-69—199 $US300,000 T9 David Bransdon 67-69-70—206 $54,000 T15 Steve Allan 71-69-68—208 $26,383 T15 Steven Alker (NZ) 72-67-69—208 $26,383 T27 Richard Green 70-68-71—209 $16,233 T33 Greg Chalmers 72-68-70—210 $12,600 T33 Rod Pampling 68-71-71—210 $12,600 T57 Michael Wright 69-75-72—216 $3,800 T62 Stuart Appleby 76-70-70—216 $2,900 75 John Senden 72-75-78—225 $1,240

WD Mark Hensby 69-69—138

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