Ruffles edges Choi in epic all-Aussie

Posted by on July 20, 2019  /   Posted in golf news

Gabi Ruffels and Doey Choi show the booty of their epic final clash. Photo: @pinehurstresort

Australia would always be a big winner in Pinehurst today.

But in a high-quality North and South Amateur final it was necessary all day long to find out who that would be.

At the end of an all-Australian epic, Gabi Ruffels triumphed over good-sized Doey Choi 2-up to win one of the most respected amateur crowns in the United States at the famous Pinehurst No.2 course in North Carolina

The pair, partners and rivals since Ruffels first came to the sport four years ago, had previously set up their confrontation with impressive semi-final victories over American opponents.

And for a while it seemed that Sydneysider Choi could take the lead.

But Ruffels, halfway through a huge few months in her starting career, would not be denied, in the end it is going better than her second place in Pinehurst last year with an admitted birdie on the last hole.

The Melburnian, 19, followed Choi 2-dn when the lightning threat forced the first of two weather delays after the sixth hole.

But when she returned to the famous layout, Ruffels won three holes on the trot to hit the front, including a 15m birdie bomb on the eighth hole.

As she did all week, Choi continued her affinity with the back nine with a fantastic little bird on the 11th to draw a square again. Remarkably, Choi stayed behind nine times during the week.

With a large number of their fellow Aussies roaring at their every move, the tension rose to the 14th when Ruffels played what turned out to be the match-winning battle.

Against the advice of her local caddy for perhaps the first time all week, the Victoria Golf Club member made a nice high cut to a tight pin that ended 3m from the flag.

While Choi made a good fist of her long birdie attempt, it didn't go down completely and when Ruffels rammed her putt, the winning break was set.

"(My caddy) said: & # 39; Just touch the center of the green. That's all I want here. Don't go into it," said Ruffels, whose star has risen in the US since joining in 2017 was from the team at the University of Southern California.

"I was like, & # 39; Naahhhhh. & # 39;"

Choi played great golf in the following holes, but when her long putt from the front of 18 did not fall, she admitted the game to Ruffels, who had about 5 meters for birdie after another in a series of stunning approach shots.

"This is all," Ruffels told Pinehurst.com.

"From last year, when I was as close as the runner-up, this was my goal. And to do it in match play where anything can happen … I'm just so happy."

"I think I played my very first golf tournament with Doey. She's a good friend and a great friend to my entire golfing life."

Choi, a Concord member, was just as exuberant in her praise for her boyfriend.

"It was such a good fight for both of us. I am very happy for Gabi, & # 39; said Choi.

"It was really fun (playing for our friends who followed us). It felt like I was home again, making it really comfortable.

"Playing against a friend is very difficult, but I don't think I lost for a better person or a better player."

Ruffels joins an illustrious list of winners in the 117th edition of the event, including Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs and Peggy Kirk Bell.

Eleven of the last 16 champions have joined the LPGA Tour, of which four have won major championships – Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel, Yani Tseng and Danielle Kang.

It was Ruffels & # 39; second victory since she moved to the US after her Windy City Collegiate victory last year.

The Victorian also qualified for the recent US Women & # 39; s Open in Charleston and also played a professional event in Japan in June.

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