A resurgent Ryan Ruffels has been pipped in a playoff for his first professional win at the PGA TOUR-Latino America Molino Canuelas Championship in Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Leading the tournament by a shot with three holes to play, Ruffels had to make birdie to force a playoff after Colombian Andres Echavarria roared home with five birdies in his final six holes.
The pair halved the first playoff hole when they each made par down the par-5 18th, Echavarria’s birdie on their second journey down Canuelas Golf Club’s closing hole relegating Ruffels to his second consecutive runner-up finish to start the season.
Ruffels is now third on the Order of Merit and with an excellent chance to vie for one of the five Web.com Tour cards that the top five finishers receive at the end of the year.
The 2015 Australian Boys’ Amateur champion, Ruffels turned professional at 17 years of age.
With eyes on a career on the PGA TOUR, Ruffels received seven sponsor invites in his first year on tour but was unable to convert those chances into a tour card at such a young age.
Now, two weeks out from his 21st birthday, Ruffels appears to have cast aside the injuries that hampered his 2018 campaign and regained the confidence that made him one of the top amateurs in the world prior to joining the professional ranks.
Starting the final round in second position, Ruffels claimed the lead courtesy of three consecutive birdies on the front nine starting at the par-4 4th hole and added two more on the back-9 for a bogey-free round of 5-under 67.
It looked as though it would be enough for a breakthrough professional win until Echavarria caught fire to send the tournament to extra holes.
Sydney’s Harrison Endycott also made the cut but shot 76-74 over the weekend to finish tied for 52nd. He now sits 12th on the Order of Merit.
Molino Canuelas Championship
Canuelas Golf Club, Buenos Aires, Argentina
P2 Ryan Ruffels 69-71-67-67—274 $18,900
T52 Harrison Endycott 71-68-76-74—289 $713
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