Home Australia Aussie Gabriela Ruffels in the golf major mix while red-hot Nelly Korda threatens

Aussie Gabriela Ruffels in the golf major mix while red-hot Nelly Korda threatens

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Aussie Gabriela Ruffels in the golf major mix while red-hot Nelly Korda threatens

While world number one Nelly Korda seeks a stunning fifth straight victory, Australian rising star Gabriela Ruffels is off to an impressive start at the Chevron Championship, the first women’s golf major of the year.

American Lauren Coughlin posted a bogey-free 6-under 66 on Thursday (Friday AEDT) to take the lead at The Club at Carlton Woods in Texas, but Korda was second, just two shots behind.

Celebrating her 24th birthday, Ruffels shot a 3-under 69 to share fifth place and be the leading Australian in a nine-player field.

The next Australians are Sarah Kemp (70), Steph Kyriacou and Karis Davidson (72) and Robyn Choi (73).

Former major winners Minjee Lee (74) and Hannah Green (77) have work to do.

Ruffels, now ranked No. 84 in the world after falling out of the top 200 a year ago, has a strong track record at this major, finishing in the top 25 three times when he was based in Mission Hills in California before moving to The Woodlands one year. back.

“This tournament has always been very special to me. I have had great memories from this tournament and I hope I can have a good one this week too,” he said.

“It’s my birthday today, so I was glad I had a good round; I felt super solid.”

Starting her day on the 10th, the Victorian quickly moved to three under par with birdies on three of her first six holes, before hitting back with consecutive bogeys on the 16th and 17th.

After another birdie on the 18th hole, Ruffels’ back nine was less of a rollercoaster, with a bogey on the third offset by birdies on the sixth and ninth.

Coughlin, 31, ranked No. 94 in the world, has just three top-10 finishes in her LPGA career.

With her husband in the bag this week, Coughlin started the tournament birdie-birdie on the 10th and 11th holes and ended up making three birdies on each side in windy conditions.

Coughlin was asked who he saw as his main competition this week.

“I mean, Nelly, of course,” Coughlin said. “She’s everyone’s competition.”

Korda is trying to win her second major after winning the Women’s PGA Championship in 2021, joining Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sorenstam (2004-05) as the only women to win five consecutive LPGA events.

The 25-year-old birdied four of her final six holes to sit alongside compatriot Marina Alex and Japan’s Minami Katsu.

Korda said he was fighting fatigue from recent tournaments at the start of his round, opening with a bogey on the par-4 10th.

“I can definitely still feel a little tired, so it took me a while to get going,” he said.

“I definitely felt the nerves at the beginning of the round. Once I made the turn, I was playing free golf.”

Lilia Vu, last year’s champion, withdrew just before her tee time due to a back injury.

“Some days are better than others and, unfortunately, today was not a good day,” the American said in a statement on Instagram.

“During my normal warm-up routine, I experienced severe back discomfort and felt that I could not compete up to my standards and made the decision to withdraw from the tournament before my tee time.”


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