21 Apr 2024 | Professional golf |

Ruffels carries Aussie hopes at interrupted Chevron

by Tony Webeck

Gabriela Ruffels Round 3 Chevron Championship
Gabi Ruffels has one hole to complete of her third round after a storm forced the suspension of play. Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Gabi Ruffels will have one hole to tighten the gap to Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul after an electrical storm forced an early end to Round 3 of The Chevron Championship in Texas.

Of the five Australians to make the cut at The Club at Carlton Woods, Karis Davidson (74), Sarah Kemp (75) and Robyn Choi (69) were able to complete their third rounds before players were called from the course.

Play was initially suspended at 2:57pm “due to dangerous conditions” and was ultimately called for the day at 5:31pm. Round 3 will resume at 11pm AEST with the final round projected to begin at approximately 1:20am AEST.

Ruffels was 2-under on her round and playing the par-5 18th when play was suspended while Stephanie Kyriacou was even par through 14 holes of her third round.

At 11-under through 12 holes, Thitikul has a one-stroke lead from Canada’s Brooke Henderson (64) and world No.1 Nelly Korda.

A birdie on 18 to close out Round 3 would elevate Ruffels into a share of ninth at 5-under, currently in a tie for 20th and seven shots off the lead.

Birdies at both par 5s on the front nine and a bogey on seven saw the 24-year-old turn in 1-under on Saturday, a birdie at the par-4 14th moving her up to 4-under for the championship.

After an early bogey, Kyriacou responded with birdies at eight, 11 and 13 to move inside the top 10 but would have been seething when she was called into the clubhouse on the back of a double-bogey at the par-4 14th.

It was a milestone day for Queenslander Robyn Choi who celebrated making her first cut in a major with a bogey-free round of 3-under 69 to be in a tie for 34th.

Playing in just her third major championship and first since turning professional in November 2018, Choi had to par her final four holes in one of the last groups on Friday to make the cut on the number.

Despite the short turnaround she started Saturday in fine fashion, making birdies at three and four adding a third on 13 to climb 26 spots on a day to savour.

“It feels really great. Just a lot of confidence for me coming in, making the cut,” Choi said.

“Hard conditions, all the players out here are very talented so to make the cut here is big for me going forward.

“I’m slowly getting used to it. It’s still a little bit overwhelming for me, it’s my first major as a professional, to play in such a big tournament. I feel like if I can do what I did all through last year then this year should be OK.”

Although she hit just 11 of 18 greens in Round 3, Choi leant on her short game to keep any bogeys off the card, needing just 26 putts.

“Today I was quite happy with my game. Just a few misses with distances here and there but I was able to overcome it with my short game,” the 26-year-old added.

“Throughout the whole week this week my short game has been pretty good. I think that’s how I made the cut as well, through my short game.

“If I continue with that and maybe hit a few better drives I think it will be OK.”

The Chevron Championship Round 3 (play suspended at 5:31pm) 1 Atthaya Thitikul -11 (through 12) T20 Gabriela Ruffels -4 (through 17) T29 Stephanie Kyriacou -3 (through 14) T34 Robyn Choi -1 T58 Sarah Kemp +2 T68 Karis Davidson +4

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