Golf Australia

Little sister steals limelight

Gabi Ruffels
Gabi Ruffels

Mark down Friday January 15 as a memorable day for the Ruffels family.

Gabriela grabbed a sporting first for herself at Metropolitan even before big brother Ryan announced he was turning pro in a media conference at nearby Victoria golf club.

Gaby claimed her debut matchplay victory with a stunning approach shot to the 18th green to edge out Olivia Kline one-up in their unfinished match of the Australian amateur first round.

With the all-square match resuming on the 18th tee, the 15-year-old fired an eight-iron second shot to a metre of the flag and held her nerve to hole the birdie putt to seal the win.

Ruffels and her mother, who caddied for her, then rushed from South Oakleigh to Cheltenham to be with Ryan to celebrate his major career decision.

For Kline, grand-daughter of the late Australian Test spinner Lindsay Kline, it was golf's equivalent of cricket's frustrating bad-light-stopped-play scenario.

Kline had seized the momentum of the tight duel with Ruffels the previous day when she won the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to pull back to square for the match.

"I wanted to keep going, but the decision was made to stop because it was too dark,'' Kline said.

She was philosophical in defeat after watching Ruffels birdie the final hole. "That was just too good,'' she said.

Queensland's Karis Davidson, who was four-up with four to play, closed out NSW's Chizuru 5 & 3, South Korea's Hyun-kyung Park eventually overcame Queensland's Robyn Choi at the 20th and Finland's Hannele Mikkola beat Yu Sang Hou of Taiwan one-up in the other unfinished first round matches.

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