Date: May 03, 2016
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussies prominent again in New Orleans

A series of bold Australian challenges each fell just short in the rain-shortened Zurich Classic in New Orleans overnight.

But with nine Aussies making the cut and five of those finishing in the top 20 at TPC Louisiana, it was another remarkable week.

World No.1 Jason Day made a spirited run with a closing 66 in a third and final round spread over two days by drenching rain across the Gulf of Mexico.

But the Queenslander, at -13, ultimately fell two shots short of a playoff won on the second hole by little-known American Brian Stuard.

Victorian veteran Stuart Appleby kept his recent revival from a serious back injury on track with a closing 67 to finish T11 at -10.

Appleby’s $154,000 cheque made another nice downpayment on his 2017 playing card and left him with just in excess of $250,000 left to make with eight events remaining on his major medical extension.

Golf Australia rookie squad member Ryan Ruffels impressed with his best finish in his sixth of seven sponsor invitations he’s allowed by the US PGA Tour.

The Victorian, who turned 18 last week, closed with a 70 to finish at -8 and T20, but agonisingly three shots shy of earning a “free” start next week via a top-10 finish.

Ruffels moved through $100,000 earnt on the US PGA Tour this year, but his chances of winning a top-125 equivalent finish on the FedEx Cup points table now are remote.

Instead he will focus on earning enough money at his next start, likely the Memorial Tournament in early June, to ensure a berth in the Tour four-week finals series later this year as his path to a 2017 card.

Also T20 were Marc Leishman (66) and John Senden (71) for whom the result pushed him into the top 125 on the FedEx Cup standings.

Victorian trio Cameron Percy (-5), Aaron Baddeley (-4) and Geoff Ogilvy (-3) and New South Welshman Rhein Gibson (E) each banked a cheque.