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Gabriela Ruffels talks Nelly Korda, the loneliness of tour life and following her brother’s lead on eve of LPGA Q-School

Gabriela Ruffels talks Nelly Korda, the loneliness of tour life and following her brother’s lead on eve of LPGA Q-School

Gabriela Ruffels has heard about the pressures of Q-School from friends and notably older brother Ryan, who earned status for the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020 through Q-School Finals.

Stage II of LPGA Qualifying begins this week in Venice, Florida, and Gabi, the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, is among the headliners in the field of 179. The 72-hole, no-cut event is being held Oct. 21-24 on both the Panther and Bobcat Courses at Plantation Golf & Country Club.

The top 45 players and ties will advance to Q-Series, held Nov. 29-Dec. 12 on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama. Everyone in the field will receive varying levels of Symetra Tour status.

Australia’s Ruffels, 21, left USC a semester early to turn professional and officially graduated in August. She has spent 2021 bouncing around tours. Ruffels received six LPGA sponsor exemptions and Monday-qualified for the Cambia Portland Classic. She played her way into the ANA thanks to a T-15 at the 2020 event and followed it up with a 13th-place finish in 2021.

Another highlight, she said, was carding at 65 at Atlanta Athletic Club en route to a 25th-place finish at the KPMG Women’s PGA.

“If I went back and started the…

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