08 Aug 2020 | Professional golf |
Young guns surge around the world
by Martin Blake
Australia was having a glorious 2020 on the golf tours of the world before the Covid-19 tumult, but three young players are in contention around the world this week.
The 22-year-old Ryan Ruffels shot a stunning, second-round 63 with eight birdies and no bogeys at North Plains, Oregon, to soar on to the leaderboard on the American Korn Ferry Tour, a week after he fell away in the final round after leading a tournament in Omaha.
Ruffels, a former world junior champion and Australian boys’ champion, is at his hottest right now, and he is just a shot away from the lead in the Portland Open.
Meanwhile his younger sister Gabi reached the quarter-finals of the US Women's Amateur, the event that she won at this time last year.
And in Europe, another 22-year-old, Perth’s Min Woo Lee, is tied-fourth in the English Championship after a 67 to go with his opening 64 in Hertfordshire.
The former US boys’ champion and Golf WA product is at 11-under, three shots from the lead, bouncing back with three late birdies after he double bogeyed the par-four 13th hole. Jason Scrivener (69 today) also remains inside the top 20 in that tournament.
Lee, who won the ISPS Handa Vic Open earlier this year, is regarded as one of Australia’s best young talents to emerge in years.
His elder sister, Minjee Lee, still just 24, routinely contends on the LPGA Tour and she is in the running again at the Marathon Classic in Ohio.
She shot a second-round 67 to be seventh, five shots from the lead, at the halfway mark. Australians won six tournaments in the first seven weeks of this calendar year. Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman and Adam Scott all had wins on the US Tour, Lucas Herbert and Min Woo Lee triumphed on the European Tour and Wade Ormsby won in Asia before the forced interruption.
Now all eyes are on siblings -- Ruffels and Lees -- along with Jason Day at the PGA Championship.
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