08 May 2023 | Professional golf |

Aussies on Tour: Ruffels dominates, Crown team falls just short

by Tony Webeck

Gabi Ruffels Epson selfie image
Gabi Ruffels celebrates in Kansas today. Photo: Epson Tour

Gabi Ruffels' second win of the Epson Tour season and Australia's climb to the final of the International Crown teams event on the LPGA Tour highlighted the weekend for Aussies. Four of Australia’s current LPGA Tour contingent did their country proud at the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown in San Francisco. The No.7 seed at the start of the week, the Australian team of Minjee Lee, Hannah Green, Steph Kyriacou and Sarah Kemp defeated both Korea and Japan in the round robin matches to secure a spot in the semi-finals. With a change in format for the final day, the Aussies booked a place in the final with a clean sweep of Sweden in the semis. In the two singles matches Stephanie Kyriacou defeated Anna Nordqvist 4&3 and Hannah Green bested Caroline Hedwall 3&2 as Minjee Lee and Sarah Kemp delivered a 5&3 foursomes win over Madelene Sagstrom and Maja Stark. But in a rematch of their final round robin meeting Team Thailand once again proved too strong in the final. Atthaya Thitikul accounted for Kyriacou 4&2, Patty Tavatanakit defeated Green 4&3 and the Jutanugarn sisters, Moriya and Ariya, defeated Lee and Kemp 4&3. Meanwhile an LPGA Tour card is within touching distance after Victorian Ruffels completed a four-stroke win at the Epson Tour Garden City Charity Classic in Kansas. After breaking the 20-year Epson Tour 36-hole scoring record on Saturday, Ruffels began the final round with a six-stroke advantage. A bogey at the second hole – just her second bogey of the week – would be her only miss-step as she closed with a one-under 71 for a five-stroke win from Isabella Fierro (62), Agathe Laisne (63) and Ga Yul Kang (65). Her 19-under par total equalled the 54-hole scoring record and, following her win at the Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic in March, puts Ruffels further ahead on top of the moneylist, with the top 10 at season's end graduating to the LPGA Tour in 2024. “This win is a big step in the right direction,” Ruffels said of her LPGA Tour aspirations. “We are all out here for the same reason and that is to get to the next level on the LPGA Tour. There is still a long season to go but I am definitely making some strides.” With the win, Ruffels earns $US30,000 to take her tally for the year to $89,262, enough to have finished seventh on the 2022 Race To The Card. The 23-year-old broke the Buffalo Dunes course record on Friday with a 10-under 62 and then backed that up with an eight-under 64 in Round 2 to set a new low mark for the Epson Tour. Even the largest leads can bring with it expectation and pressure but Ruffels was never truly threatened, birdies at 14 and 16 ensuring she always had a minimum of a three-shot advantage through the back nine. “I was definitely very nervous, but I knew I had a big buffer which really helped,” said Ruffels. “I just tried to play every shot as it was and not get too ahead of myself. “I was just trying to play super consistent and I was able to do that today, so I was very happy.” Adam Scott’s tie for fifth at the Wells Fargo Championship was his best PGA TOUR result since last August, resulting in a move up to 37th in the world ranking along with a cheque for $US772,500. Scott had designs on reining in runaway leader Wyndham Clark at the start of the final round but bogeys at one and six made that assignment all the more difficult. A two-putt birdie at the par-5 seventh and 15-foot birdie putt on eight generated some positive momentum but a back nine of one-over 37 kept Scott from making a greater impression down the stretch. Results Epson Tour Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, Garden City, Kansas 1 Gabriela Ruffels 62-64-71—197 $US30,000 T21 Robyn Choi 69-69-70—208 $2,260 T29 Cassie Porter 69-68-72—209 $1,764 T36 Amelia Garvey (NZ) 71-69-70—210 $1,420 MC Emily Mahar 74-74—148 PGA TOUR Wells Fargo Championship Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, North Carolina 1 Wyndham Clark 67-67-63-68—265 $US3.6m T5 Adam Scott 67-68-67-71—273 $772,500 T59 Cam Davis 71-70-73-72—286 $44,600 T59 Harrison Endycott 74-66-71-75—286 $44,600 MC Jason Day 72-70—142 LPGA Tour Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California Final Atthaya Thitikul def Steph Kyriacou 4&2 Patty Tavatanakit def Hannah Green 4&3 Moriya Jutanugarn/Ariya Jutanugarn def Minjee Lee/Sarah Kemp 4&3 Semi-finals Stephanie Kyriacou def Anna Nordqvist 4&3 Hannah Green def Caroline Hedwall 3&2 Minjee Lee/Sarah Kemp def Madelene Sagstrom/Maja Stark 5&3 Round robin Australia v Korea Minjee Lee/Steph Kyriacou def Hye-Jin Choi/In Gee Chun 2 up Hannah Green/Sarah Kemp def Jin Young Ko/Hyo Joo Kim 2&1 Australia v Japan Minjee Lee/Steph Kyriacou def Nasa Hataoka/Ayaku Furue 2 up Hannah Green/Sarah Kemp tied Hinako Shibuno/Yuka Saso Australia v Thailand Patty Tavatanakit/Atthaya Thitikul def Minjee Lee/Steph Kyriacou 1 up Moriya Jutanugarn/Ariya Jutanugarn def Hannah Green/Sarah Kemp 3&2 DP World Tour DS Automobiles Italian Open Marco Simone GC, Rome, Italy 1 Adrian Meronk 68-68-66-69—271 €500,495.38 MC Daniel Hillier (NZ) 69-78—147 MC Jason Scrivener 74-75—149 Asian Tour The 42nd GS Caltex Maekyung Open Namseoul Country Club, Korea Event reduced to 54 holes due to rain 1 Chanmin Jung 63-68-66—197 $US222,222.22 T31 Zach Murray 75-67-69—211 $8,018.52 T43 Wonjoon Lee 71-70-72—213 $6,000 T43 Kevin Yuan 76-64-73—213 $6,000 T51 Terry Pilkadaris 69-71-74—214 $4,888.89 T60 Junseok Lee 72-70-73—215 $4,074.07 T60 Scott Hend 71-71-73—215 $4,074.07 MC Todd Sinnott 74-73—147 PGA TOUR Champions Mitsubishi Electric Classic TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, Georgia 1 Stephen Ames 65-64-68—197 $US300,000 T10 David McKenzie 72-70-66—208 $41,714 T17 Stuart Appleby 72-66-71—209 $29,150 T17 Rod Pampling 66-71-72—209 $29,150 T52 Richard Green 71-76-69—216 $5,200 T64 John Senden 74-75-70—219 $2,600 Challenge Tour UAE Challenge Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi, UAE 1 Maximilian Rottluff 68-73-63-70—274 €43,481.95 T46 Jarryd Felton 74-70-73-71—288 €1,277.28 T51 Maverick Antcliff 71-68-76-74—289 €1,096.11 T54 Hayden Hopewell 72-72-74-72—290 €1,005.52 MC Jordan Zunic 73-72—145 PGA TOUR Latinoamerica Kia Open Quito Tenis y Golf Club, Quito, Ecuador 1 Toni Hakula 64-76-65-67—272 T34 Harry Hillier (NZ) 70-70-73-69—282 T37 Charlie Hillier (NZ) 74-64-71-74—283 MC Aaron Pike 73-71—144

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