Ruffels steals Riversdale march

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

Victorian Gabi Ruffels has stormed to the early lead in the Women’s Riversdale Cup.

Ruffels, 16, fired a three-under-par 70 on day one to pinch a handy lead over several of her high-profile rivals with only three players in red figures.

The Victoria Golf Club member and Golf Victoria state team representative, whose brother Ryan won the equivalent men’s title in 2014, fired six birdies in a sparkling opening round as most players battled their way around a Riversdale layout penal to wayward drives.

Ruffels leads Japan’s Ayaka Furue by a stroke, with New Zealand’s Chantelle Cassidy one further back at one under.

Brisbane’s Dee Dee Russell is the only Aussie of three at even par, while the impressive Alizza Hetherington, fresh from her start in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, is still handy at two over.

Highly regarded Queenslanders Becky Kay and Karis Davidson have left themselves quite the chase at three over and five over, respectively, while newly crowned Boroondara Cup champion Shanaiah Fernando battled to a 79.

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