17-year-old amateur star Ryan Ruffels goes pro

Victoria’s Ryan Ruffels has turned pro today following a stellar amateur career that included back-to-back Australian Boys’ Amateur wins.

At 17, Ruffels will become the youngest Australian to have played on the US PGA Tour when he tees it up at the US$6.5m Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines course, the site of his Callaway Junior World Golf Championship title in 2014.

He finished third at the Victorian Open behind European Tour veteran Richard Green in February last year and followed that up with leading amateur honours at the Australian Open in November.

“It’s been an anxious wait to tell everyone. For probably 2-3 months I’ve been set on this particular time and it’s pretty exciting the time is finally here,” Ruffels said.

“It would have been great to put my name on the Aussie Amateur trophy (taking place this week), and there are a lot of things I could have and maybe should have done as an amateur.”

“It would have been nice to win another junior and make history with a third title, or win the senior trophy, but the real history is made as a pro – winning majors and PGA Tour events.

“As much as the amateur stuff is great, and I’ll always cherish those tournament wins, the real stuff is going to be on the pro tour and I’m glad I’m going to get into that now.”

Ruffels also announced a sponsorship deal with sportswear and apparel giant Nike, his club of choice throughout the majority of his glittering amateur career.

“Nike has supported me for so long through my amateur stuff that it’s going to make the transition to turning pro much easier. I was the only one they backed in Australia at the time and it’s great they put the trust in me to do that.”