• Aussies on Tour: Ruffels falls just short of first LPGA Tour win

Rising star Gabi Ruffels has come up just one shot short of a spot in the playoff at the Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship in California.

A three-time winner on the Epson Tour last year, Ruffels had a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to join the playoff for a shot at a maiden LPGA Tour title but her attempt came up just short and left of the hole.

In danger of missing the cut late on Friday, Ruffels surged into contention with a third round of 6-under 65, putting her just two shots off the lead heading into Round 4.

Three birdies in the space of four holes put Ruffels in a tie for the lead before a double-bogey at the par-4 ninth appeared to derail her hopes.

When eventual champion Nelly Korda made eagle at the par-5 14th Ruffels trailed by five, clawing her way back within three with birdies at 15 and 16.

With Korda playing in the group ahead, Ruffels was unaware that the American had dropped shots at both 17 and 18.

A member of the Golf Australia Rookie Squad, that gave Ruffels the simple equation of needing to make birdie at the final hole to match Korda and Ryann O’Toole’s total of 9-under par.

The 23-year-old had a good look from around 20 feet but her putt came up just short and left, her tie for third her best LPGA Tour result and a taste of what it takes to win at the highest level.

“Standing over the putt, I did realise that was to get into a playoff,” Ruffels revealed post-round.

“It's cool. It's really cool to be in that situation.

“Unfortunately didn't make the putt, but thought I hit a pretty good putt.

“Not a great start to the year I guess in Bradenton, but worked hard these past couple weeks and I really feel like my game is in a good place.

“Just goes to show this week and excited for the next couple weeks.”

Photo: Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images


Fir Hills Seri Pak Championship
Palos Verdes Golf Club, Palos Verdes Estates, California
1          Nelly Korda                  72-67-67-69—275       $US300,000
T3        Gabriela Ruffels           72-69-65-70—276       $120,026
T27      Karis Davidson             73-69-71-70—283       $15,179
MC       Hira Naveed                 70-74—144
MC       Hannah Green              73-72—145
MC       Sarah Kemp                 74-74—148
MC       Stephanie Kyriacou      75-74—149
MC       Grace Kim                    73-76—149
MC       Robyn Choi                  73-77—150

Epson Tour
Atlantic Beach Classic
Atlantic Beach Country Club, Atlantic Beach, Florida
1          Briana Chacon              67-70-69—206 $US45,000
11        Fiona Xu (NZ)               68-70-72—210 $6,091
T55      Amelia Garvey (NZ)      68-74-78—220 $1,149
MC       Cassie Porter                73-74—147
MC       Su Oh                          76-77—153

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