Ruffels victorious at Riversdale Cup
Ryan Ruffels held his nerve today to secure his first top amateur title with a stroke victory over Todd Sinnott at the Riversdale Cup in Melbourne.
Ruffels fired rounds of 72-72-66-70 to finish at 8-under-par with Sinnott closing with a 75 to finish at 7-under.Ryan Ruffels, winner of the 2014 Riversdale Cup (Photo: Anthony Powter)
Jarrod Freeman was in third position at 5-under, with Mitchell Smith and Taylor MacDonald sharing fourth position at 3-under.
Starting the final round four strokes from Sinnott, a delicate up-and-down on the opening hole for par kept Ruffels in the game after Sinnott missed a 10 foot birdie opportunity. From then on Ruffels applied the pressure with precision tee shots and crisp iron play.
At the third hole, a 147 metre par 3, Ruffels made an exquisite up-and-down after flying the green to save par after Sinnott made bogey resulting in a two shot swing through three holes.
As they say it was then ‘game on’ as Ruffels applied the pressure in a classic match-play style encounter.
By the 7th hole Ruffels had made up ground to be three under and even with Sinnott. After Sinnott doubled bogey the 9th the door had opened.
The pressure was evident on the faces of both players as they traded holes with pars and birdies.
After the 16th, when Sinnott made double with Ruffels securing par, the championship appeared to be in Ruffels’ hands. But there was more to unfold as Sinnott played the closing two holes one under compared to Ruffel’s two over yet for Sinnott he would come agonisingly short.
“It was not the best finish to come in with two bogeys, but it is a ‘W’,” said Ruffels.
“I held it together well out there and played the shots that I needed. Certainly the opening nine this morning got me into position and then birdies on the 11th and 15th kept me going. This is my first win in top amateur events and I was able to get that.”
Ruffels certainly applied the pressure early to Sinnott and was gritty through out the round.
Exquisite tee shots, precision putting and course management were Ruffels’ traits over the closing two rounds. It was impressive to watch, his poise and confidence in executing shots under pressure certainly lifted Ruffels above the field this week.
“I knew it was going to be tough today as Todd is a great player,” said Ruffels.
“I was fortunate earlier today to hole a few good par putts on the first and the third to get to two and then the three birdies in a row from five to seven to hit the lead gave me a buffer.”
“I was playing really well considering the conditions and I’m just relieved to get this win as it is my first national ranking event.”
This was a stellar victory for one of our young guns of golf who has a future ahead.
Ruffels turns sixteen next month and already has subjected himself to the grind of playing professional events which certainly has done no harm to his game.
Today Ruffels had to dig deep, Sinnott was not going down without a fight as he closed the back nine in one under which included a double on the 16th, and he was pushed all the way and was able to withstand the pressure to collect this special victory.
As Ruffels stood on the 18th green some fifteen feet above the hole on the ever slippery Riversdale greens, he edged his putt perfectly down to within tap-in distance.
This summed up his closing two rounds – cool, calm and collected under pressure – and today’s win hopefully will be the start of many more for this talented young man.