A stirring back nine at the Argentinian Open today has put Ryan Ruffels closer to the Korn Ferry Tour for next season.
Ruffels, ranked 10th on a congested LatinoAmerica Tour money list and needing to reach fifth for a full card on the secondary American circuit, fired an opening two-under-par 68 at the famous Jockey Club in Buenos Aires.
And with a handful of his nearest rivals in precarious positions in relation to the cut, the young Australian is poised to make inroads into the $US7500 gap between himself and the money list top five when the tournament began.
But it didn’t always shape as smooth sailing for the Victorian, who double-bogeyed the par-four fourth hole and then bogeyed the next.
The 21-year-old, however, didn’t panic and began to rebuild with a birdie on the seventh.
There was one more minor hiccup on the 12th, but the dual Australian Junior champ then peeled off four birdies in six holes to close his round in a share of 10th and momentum high for round two.
South African Victor Lange played his best round of the season to lead by two at seven under, but he is sufficiently low on the money list that even victory wouldn’t propel him past Ruffels.
Of those in the immediate and realistic race between positions 3-10, Jared Wolfe shares second at five under, and fellow American Patrick Flavin is one behind Ruffels at one under.
The others are largely in a race to make the halfway cut when play resumes tonight.
Ruffels already has partial status on the Korn Ferry Tour next year, courtesy of his money list position at a mid-season cut-off.
But a top-five berth could prevent the need to attend Q-school and assure greater status in 2020.