Aussie women fire at Pinehurst

Gabi Ruffels
Gabi Ruffels feels right at home on Pinehurst No.2. Picture: USC Athletics

A three-pronged Australian on the Women’s North and South Amateur will yield at least one semi-finalist at famous Pinehurst No.2 tomorrow.

Remarkably, all five Aussie women in the 116th edition of the American tournament advanced not only to the top 32, but also won through to the final 16 after winning during their first contest in the match play phase overnight.

Naturally, that run had to end at some point and did when Melbourne’s Julienne Soo suffered a 2&1 loss in the round of 16. Sadly, and almost inevitably, the next Aussie victim came at the hands of a compatriot when Melbourne’s Gabi Ruffels took down Brisbane’s Dee Dee Russell 3&1.

But Melbourne’s Stephanie Bunque and Gold Coaster Becky Kay continued their good form to join Ruffels in the final eight to play overnight (Australian time).

Kay impressed in a 5&4 victory over Jennifer Chang, while Bunque, who recently qualified for next month’s US Women’s Amateur, was equally ruthless in taking out Brigitte Thibault 4&3.

Kay, who recently spent time with Karrie Webb at the Women’s PGA Championship as part of the KW Scholarship, will next face last year’s runner-up Anna Redding, while, sadly, the two Victoria Golf Club mates will face off in another quarter-final clash.

Ruffels, who has just finished her first collegiate season with the University of Southern California, told host club website Pinehurst.com that one of her advantages through the week to date has been her ease with the layout.

“The first thing I said when I saw No. 2 was, ‘Wow, this looks just like my home course’,” Ruffels said.

Naturally, that feeling will have no edge against former club pennant and Victorian state teammate Bunque.

“It’ll be a fun match,” Ruffels said.

“She knows my game well and I know her game well.”

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