Date: May 05, 2017
Author: Mark Hayes

Ruffels back in hunt again

It might be this week, or it might not – but you get the sense that Ryan Ruffels’ breakthrough moment is nearing.

Ruffels, 19, returned to the less glamourous surrounds of the LatinoAmerica Tour today after another brush with the US PGA Tour last week at the Zurich Classic, won by countryman Cam Smith and Jonas Blixt.

And, taking the form that earnt he and partner Kyle Stanley the first-round lead in New Orleans, Ruffels immediately jumped into contention in the Costa Rica Classic in Guanacaste, west of San Jose, the capital city.

The Victorian carded a fine five-under-par 66 to sit in a share of third, just two strokes adrift of Canadian leader Peter Campbell, who opened with a course record at the Reserva Conchal Golf Club, when the first round was suspended because of bad light.

Ruffels, a Golf Australia rookie squad member, began his round on the 10th with a birdie, but has his momentum halted with a double-bogey on the par-four 12th.

But showing the form that made him so prominent on the big tour a week earlier, Ruffels peeled off birdies on 13, 14, 16, 18 on the back nine, then three more on the front side until a bogey on the 8th dropped him from a share of second place.

West Australian Brady Watt (+1) and Queenslander Troy Kennedy (+2) both managed just three holes of their first round before play was called off.

Meanwhile, on the main US PGA Tour, Curtis Luck sits just shot adrift of Adam Scott after the first round of the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina.

Scott carded an opening 71 to be five shots behind Italian leader Francesco Molinari, with Luck, in his second professional event, and former Australian Open champion Matt Jones at even par and sharing 53rd on a packed leaderboard.

Brett Drewitt (+1), Stuart Appleby, Cam Percy, Greg Chalmers (all +2), Geoff Ogilvy and Steve Bowditch (both +5), have work to do in the second round.