Gabriela Ruffels (USC Athletics/Twitter photo)
The sole Pinehurst local amid the 32 women on the North & South match-play bracket bowed out on Wednesday, but not without a fight. Nicole Adam, a 17-year-old committed to play for North Carolina beginning in the fall of 2020, gave last year’s runner-up Gabriela Ruffels, a seasoned USC player, plenty of trouble in the opening match.
Ruffels only managed to get by Adam by a 2-and-1 margin.
“It was a great fight,” said Ruffels, who hails from Australia. “I knew Nicole was the hometown favorite and she had a lot of Pinehurst members following her and rooting her on. She’s a great player, and I knew, even at 3 up, I could never take the lead for granted.”
Adam had the No. 12 seed while Ruffels was No. 21 on the bracket. To start the back nine, Adam birdied the 10th, parred the 11th and made another par at 13, wiping out the lead Ruffels had worked to build on the opening nine.
Ruffels came back with a birdie on 14 to regain the lead, but Adam made a brilliant birdie on the par-3 15th to tie the match again.
“She’s just 17, but she’s a really, really good player who’s probably played No. 2 a million times,” Ruffels said. “When she birdied 15, all I could say was, ‘You deserve it. You birdie that hole, you deserve to win the hole.’”
Ruffels, of course, has played this course her share of times, too, after playing her way into the final match here last year and eventually losing to Stephanie Lau. Next up, Ruffels meets another Pac-12 player in Bethany Wu, a recent UCLA grad who was a quarterfinalist here in 2017 and a semifinalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2015.
Among the other notable winners on Wednesday was stroke-play medalist Allisen Corpuz, a USC teammate of Ruffels. In fact, of the five USC players who initially made match play, three remain. Malia Nam fell to recent Arkansas graduate Dylan Kim and Amelia Garvey lost to Oregonian Tze-Han Lin.
As for Thursday’s most exciting match? The showdown between Ohio State’s Aneka Seumanutafa, who won the North & South Girls’ Junior here in 2017, and Wake Forest wonder-kid Emilia Migliaccio, the reigning Harder Hall champion who won three points for her Wake Forest team in NCAA match play, is a must-watch.
Quotes and information from Pinehurst Resort used in this report
ABOUT THE North & South Women's Amateur
The Women's North & South has drawn the top
amateur women from around the country. Three
rounds of stroke play followed by four rounds of
match play will determine the Champion.
The 96 player field will be cut to a 16 player
match play field and medalist honors. All stroke
match play rounds will be contested on Pinehurst
No. 2. The top 16 players who qualify for match
play will play two rounds a day until our
Nine of the last 12 North & South Women’s
Amateur champions have drawn paychecks as
members of the LPGA Tour. The equation is near
perfect. Win the North & South Am, go on to
professional success at the highest level.
North & South champions are among the legends
of the game: Babe Zaharias, Louise Suggs,
Kirk Bell, Hollis Stacey, Brandie Burton, Brittany
Lang, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.
Along with the Women's North & South,
Resort & Country Club annually plays host to the
Men's North & South, the Junior North & South,
and Senior Men's and Senior Women's North &
View Complete Tournament Information