22 Jan 2020 | Amateur golf |

Ruffels chooses major over Augusta

by Martin Blake

Gabi Ruffels image
Gabi Ruffels is warming up for her US Women's Amateur defence.

Australia's top female amateur Gabi Ruffels has made an agonising decision to skip a chance to play Augusta National so that she can play in a major championship on the LPGA Tour this year, according to an Australian Associated Press report.

Ruffels earned a start in the ANA Inspiration from 2-5 April by winning last year's US Women's Amateur -- the first-ever Australian to do so.

But the first major championship of the season crazily clashes with the second instalment of the Augusta National Women's Amateur, and she will be the first high profile player to decline that invitation. Instead she's play in the ANA Inspiration at Rancho Mirage in California.

"Yeah it was a really tough decision, but I think we all decided ANA would be the best," Ruffels told AAP on Tuesday.

"I'm only getting the ANA start because I won the US Women's Amateur and it's a rare opportunity; they don't give out exemptions to anyone at majors."

Grace Kim, from NSW, is the only Australian invited to the Augusta event.

Ruffels, who is studying at the University of Southern California, told AAP's Evin Priest she was excited to play in four of the five women's majors in 2020.

"I'm really looking forward to testing myself at the ANA and the other majors," Ruffels said.

"My parents live close to (ANA host) Mission Hills CC and it will feel like a home event. It would be awesome to do as well as I can and make the cut in all of the majors I play in." Ruffels intends remaining an amateur until the end of her college career at USC.

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