Ruffels Earns First Pro Title in Arizona Women’s Open on the Cactus Tour

Gabriela Ruffels left USC to turn pro early this year and the move is paying off.

Ruffels, who is from Australia but lives in Indian Wells, held on to claim her first professional victory over amateur Hana Wilson of Henderson, Nev., in the Arizona Women’s Open on the Cactus Tour at Orange Tree Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“It was so cool, it’s great to win a tournament whether it’s on a big tour or small,” said Ruffels, who has playing privileges on the Symetra Tour for 2022 and hopes it will carry her to the PGA Tour. “This was so awesome and it will give me a lot of confidence heading into next year.

“Winning on the Cactus Tour is a stepping-stone and I hope to continue this type of play next year on the Symetra Tour. I’ve just learned so much this year and I’m just thankful for the experience.

“Of course my goal on the Symetra Tour is to earn my LPGA Tour card for 2023.

The 21-year-old Ruffels, who captured the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur, carded a score of 68-70-67—205, 11-under-par, while Wilson finished at 68-70-68—206, while Kendra Dalton of Wake Forest, N.C., shot 69-68-70—207 to tie for third with Kaitlin Milligan of Norman, Okla., who wound up at 70-67-70—207.

Amateur Minji Kang of Duluth, Ga., was fifth at 67-72-69—208, followed by Kenzie Wright of McKinney, Texas, at 71-68-70—209, and Megan Osland Kelowna, B.C., Canada was seventh at 73-70-67—210.

Breanne Jones of Riverside shot 67-72-72—211 to tie for eighth with Lauren Cox of College Station, Texas, who finished at 72-69-70—211, and Nishtha Madan of Delhi, India, who came in at 68-71-72—211.

Kathleen Scavo of Benicia tied for 11th at 72-68-72—212, Elizabeth Schultz of Walnut Creek tied for 16th at 71-72-72—215 and Elizabeth Wang of San Marino tied for 22nd at 75-70-74—219, while Clare Legaspi totaled 75-75-70—220 to wind up a tie for 25th that included Emilee Hoffman of Folsom, who wound up at 75-73-72—220.

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