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“It feels so good [to win]. I’ve wanted this all week, especially after the first round when I kind of got into the tournament,” said Ruffels. “I just had to stay patient all day, and I can finally relax knowing that I won. It’s a really cool feeling.”
Ruffels carded only one bogey throughout the week, scoring par or better on 71 of the 72 holes. The 22-year-old was reminded by her mom, who has been on the bag for the past year, to stay patient throughout the tough and changing conditions.
“I feel like that’s probably one of my most proud things,” said Ruffels. “I made a whole lot of birdies. My mom told me to stay patient, and that’s what I needed to do out here. Turns out it worked out well.”
Missing out on her 2023 LPGA Tour card by five spots, Ruffels was eager to get back on the course and prove herself. The University of Southern California grad looks forward to developing her game on the Epson Tour and giving herself a good shot at moving up in 2024.
“I came in 15th on the Epson Tour last year and still felt like I had a lot to improve on,” said Ruffels. “I feel like this year, if I can prove myself out here, then hopefully next year, if I get onto the LPGA Tour, I’ll be super ready. Definitely having this win, any win but especially this one, is going to boost my confidence for the rest of the year.”
Finishing two strokes behind Ruffels, in second place, was Kathleen Scavo at -16. After finishing at No. 82 on the 2022 Official Money List, Scavo was happy to finish strong early in 2023.
“It was a very positive tournament overall,” said Scavo. “This is my best finish ever, and it’s been a long journey, and it feels really awesome that all my hard work has been paying off.”
After an up-and-down front nine, Scavo closed out her round strong. The 25-year-old was -5 through the final five holes, carding three consecutive birdies and an eagle on No. 18.
“Honestly, that last shot was probably one of the best shots I’ve ever hit,” said Scavo. “It was amazing. I’ve just been very thankful for my hosts this week, my mom came to the tournament, and it was a very supportive team. I can’t wait for next week.”
Rounding out the top five, tied for third at -13, were Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Karen Chung, and Min A Yoon. Leblanc and Chung shot a final round, -5, while Yoon signed for -1. A total of 54 players finished the tournament at even par or better.
Main photo credit: Epson Tour