Gabriela Ruffels of Australia needed all 36 holes to defeat Albane Valenzuela of Switzerland and win the 119th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.
The 19-year-old Ruffels, a junior at USC, scored a 1-up victory over Valenzuela, a senior at Stanford, after six lead changes in the All-Pacific 12 Conference final at Old Waverly Golf Club https://oldwaverly.com/ in West Point, Miss.
“Actually, toward the middle I was struggling a lot,” said Ruffels, who captured the North and South Women’s Amateur last month at Pinehurst No. 2. “I told my caddie that it was very hot, and I got my umbrella (out) on the last nine, and that really helped.
“Just kind of maintaining energy levels was hard, but I just kind of got in like a new wind towards the end. I think the adrenaline kind of kicked in. … this is amazing. This is what you dream of as a kid when you start playing golf.”
Valenzuela held a 3-up lead after 11 holes, but Ruffels pulled even after 34 holes and took the lead with a short birdie putt on the 35th hole.
When both players birdied the last hole, the match was over.
“I’m really proud of myself for doing that,” Valenzuela, who also finished second to Sophia Schubert two years ago in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, said of her closing birdie. “I think that shows that I can play golf.
“You know, under pressure I was able to hit the shot I wanted, and gave myself an opportunity, and she hit a wonderful putt and she had a great birdie on 17, so kudos to her.”
Said Ruffels: “To be honest I didn’t think that last putt on 18 was going in, but seeing that just dripping in is probably the best feeling of my life.”
In the semifinals, Ruffels defeated Stanford senior Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, 2 up, and Valenzuela needed 19 holes to get past 15-year-old Megha Ganne of Holmdel, N.J.
Glenna Collett Vare won the title six times and other notable winners since the tournament was first played in 1895 were JoAnne Gunderson Carner, Glenna Collett Vare, Juli Simpson Inkster, Lydia Ko, Patty Berg, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Louise Suggs, Marlene Stewart Streit, Anne Quast Sander, Barbara McIntire, Catherine Lacoste, Carol Semple Thompson, Beth Daniel, Genevieve Hecker, Dorothy Campbell, Margaret Curtis, Betty Jameson, Kay Cockerill, Kelli Kuehne and Danielle Kang.
For complete results, visit https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/championships/2019/u-s–women-s-amateur.html#!scoring