One of six amateurs in the ANA Inspiration field, Gabriela Ruffels is playing beyond her years at Mission Hills Country Club, just 120 miles from her collegiate home. The University of Southern California senior is -5 overall at the halfway point of the second LPGA Tour major in 2020, thanks to a 4-under 68 in the second round.
“I kind of struggled my first couple holes yesterday, but ever since then I’ve been able to get it back and feeling pretty solid out there,” said Ruffels, who recorded five birdies on Friday. “As an amateur, there’s always going to be some nerves. I was excited to get this week going and definitely happy where I stand after two rounds.”
The 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion followed her title with a runner-up performance last month and is making her third start in a LPGA Tour major championship. As Ruffels continues to gain experience, she still relishes the opportunity of playing against the top female professionals in the world.
NANNA KOERSTZ MADSEN FIGHTS TO STAY PATIENT AT MISSION HILLS
Nanna Koerstz Madsen, who bites into lemons to keep her emotions calm, only had to take out one slice today on the first tee. She chalked it up to nerves, as any major championship can do that to the best of them. But in her third ANA Inspiration appearance, Koerstz Madsen forged on to finish with a second-round 69, to sit tied for third at -7.
“I was feeling pretty good after the second round. I had some fairways missed yesterday, so I would have liked to go in and hit some balls on the range, but it was closed. Then I came this morning and it wasn't either. Actually only hit five fairways today. So yeah, I'm just happy that I kept it going, yeah,” said Koerstz Madsen, who despite missing nine fairways carded three birdies and coasted through bogey-free.
Koerstz Madsen thinks of herself as an aggressive player, but credits her caddie and boyfriend, Nicki Hansen, for reminding her to be patient on the course and not attack every pin. After an exceptional day with her irons, she said she knows what she must work on heading into tomorrow.
“I have to work on my driver. I need to get more fairways than four,” joked Koerstz Madsen. “Yeah, if I can get more fairway hits, then I'm sure I will be fine because my iron game is really good.”