Ruffels on top early at US Amateur

Ryan Ruffels has got his US Amateur campaign underway with a 4-under-par 66 to currently sit one stroke behind the first round leader, American Matt NeSmith at Olympia Fields south of Chicago.

With players still on the course this morning, Ruffels fired out of the blocks with an early morning tee time on the North Course at Olympia Fields with three birdies and a bogey-free front nine to make the turn with a 33 and continued with a further birdie on he 12th, a 463 yard par 4, to finish bogey free.

Ryan Ruffels Ryan Ruffels (Credit: Anthony Powter)

Ruffels’ driving was majestic as he split the narrow fairways on the North Course.

“I kind of kept the ball in the fairway, which is critical, because the rough is really long and I think I only missed two fairways out there,” said Ruffels who missed the matchplay section of these championships last year in Atlanta by a stroke.

“I aim to play in every USGA event that we get a chance to play in. There big events because obviously at the end there if you can make it to the final, they’ve got a big prize on the line there if you can do that.”

Brett Coletta was another Aussie to fire well, carding a 3-under-par 67 on the South Course to be in a tie for 6th. Curtis Luck is at 1-under after firing a 69 on the South Course and lies in a tie for 18th whilst Anthony Murdaca was 2-over after his opening 9 on the South Course.

Austin Bautista fired a 73 to be at 3-over-par, with Lucas Herbert at 4-over-par to be currently in a tie for 168th position.

Troy Moses finished with a 5-over-par 75 with Cameron Davis firing a 77 to round out the Australian contingent at these championships. Both will need a low second round to remain in this championship.

There are 23 countries represented in the 2015 US Amateur with 312 players in the field including a number of former USGA Champions.

Philip Barbaree the 2015 US Junior champion, Jordan Niebrugge the 2013 Amateur Public Links champion, Gun Yang the defending champion and Will Zalatoris the 2014 Junior champion are all playing this week.

Five members of the 2014 USA Walker Cup team are competing with Bryson DeChambeau, Beau Hossler, Lee McCoy, Maverick McNeal and Hunter Stewart flying the American flag.

The field of 312 players play two rounds of stroke play, one round on each of the courses, after which the field will be cut to the low 64 scores for match play.