Another Ruffels making a name for herself

Gabi Ruffels
Gabi Ruffels is one of just three players under par after round one at the Riversdale Golf Club.

Another Ruffels is emerging to try to match bragging rights with a better known big brother.

Gabriela has made a bold bid to qualify for the Australian amateur matchplay rounds with a +2 total after the 36 holes stroke rounds.

At 15 and two years younger than Ryan Ruffels, little sister grabbed three early birdies and held on grimly to post an even-par 73 in sapping heat at Kingswood today.

"The last couple of holes were pretty tough when the heat got up. I did pretty well on the front nine and I had that as a little cushion because the back nine was tough,'' she said.

"I was three-under and then I doubled (double bogey) 17, I hit it in the water at the back, but generally it was pretty good.''

Known as Gaby by friends and foes, Ruffels was a 24-handicapper when she hitched a ride in a golf cart to watch Ryan play the national championships in Sydney 12 months ago.

"I was watching Ryan and it's funny how things can change so quick. I'm really pleased how I'm doing and having a lot of fun,'' she said.

She has slashed her handicap to 1.9 and today's 73 after a 75 opening round at Metropolitan gives her a chance of making the cut for the matchplay rounds.

Despite both parents making their names as touring tennis professionals, Gaby decided at the end of 2014 to swap racquets for clubs to follow her brother into golf.

"I've dropped it (handicap) quite a bit, I've been working pretty hard. I've been playing golf seriously for about a year now and I'm happy with the progress,'' she said.

Coached by Andrew Pitt at Yarra Bend, Ruffels gave a glimpse of the steely resolve to keep improving when she ventured back out into the heat after signing her card.

"I'll have a little practice and touch a few things up and come out tomorrow if, hopefully, I make the cut,'' she said.

With the women's groups starting on the 10th at Kingswood, the closing holes on the front nine collected plenty of casualties.

Japan's Minami Katsu ran up a double bogey at the seventh for 71 to be -4 after two rounds. And Taiwan's Yu Chiang Hou four-putted the ninth green, her final hole, and still posted a four-under 69 to be on +2.

Sydney's Celina Yuan is -1 after firing a four-under 69 at Kingswood to recover from yesterday's opening 76 at Metropolitan.

It could have been even better after missing a couple of makeable birdie putts and dropping a shot at her last hole.

"I three-putted from the fringe and I still had a couple of other short putts that I could've made. But I'm happy with that,'' she said.

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Click here for live scores.
Click here for round two tee times.
Click here for competitor information.

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